Sussanne Skidmore will be the BC Federation of Labour’s new president, and Hermender Singh Kailley will serve as secretary-treasurer. Delegates at the BCFED's 60th convention acclaimed them to two-year terms this morning.
“Working people in British Columbia are confronting extraordinary challenges and opportunities. And we’re facing them with extraordinary solidarity and unity,” Skidmore said. “We’re honoured by the confidence this convention has placed in us.”
“My union taught me to fight for workers’ rights, and that’s the fight I’m bringing to the BCFED,” Kailley said. “Working people need a strong, united voice now more than ever.”
First elected as the BCFED’s secretary-treasurer in 2018 and re-elected in 2020, Skidmore previously served for five years as executive vice-president of the BCGEU. She is the federation’s first out and queer president.
Kailley’s has served on ILWU Local 502’s executive board since 2018, becoming the local’s secretary-treasurer in 2019. He is the first South Asian BCFED secretary-treasurer.
Skidmore and Kailley will be sworn into their new positions at a ceremony this afternoon.
Sussanne Skidmore was first elected as the BCFED’s secretary-treasurer in November 2018 and reelected in 2020. A well-known human rights, social justice and queer rights activist, she served as executive vice-president of BCGEU for 5 years. She has co-chaired the BCFED’s Human Rights Committee and is active in the federation’s Women and Gender Rights Committee. Skidmore is the national treasurer for the New Democratic Party of Canada and a vice president of the BC NDP.
Hermender Singh Kailley’s first involvement with the labour movement began when he helped organize his fellow Vancouver Fringe Festival workers with IATSE Local 118. After a career change in 2004, he became a member of ILWU Local 502, joining the executive board in 2018 and becoming secretary-treasurer in 2019. A first-generation Canadian born to Punjabi parents, Hermender also serves on the executive board of the New Westminster and District Labour Council.