Welcome to Boilermakers 191

About Us

Overview

Boilermakers 191 is a metal trades union located in Victoria, British Columbia. Local 191 was chartered on October 23, 1951 and membership stands at 300+ members who work in:

Ship Building / Ship Repair

Steel Fabrication of Logging Equipment, Pressure Vessels and Structural Steel

Refitting of Naval Ships and Submarines



History

 The first organizational effort among boilermakers in British Columbia occurred in the City of Victoria that resulted in the chartering of Lodge 191 on January 29, 1898. The Yukon Gold Rush made Victoria rather prosperous, some of this business rubbed off on the members with the building of boilers and steamers for this trade. When this trade died off, the whaling fleet, using the facilities available in Victoria, provided employment for the early boilermakers.

During World War One, Victoria Machinery Depot Co. Ltd, built freighters for the Canadian Government. Minimum rate of wages for Boilermakers and Shipbuilders were 50¢ per hour. Yarrows Limited built a number of wooden-hulled steam-driven sternwheelers for service on the Irrawaddy River in Burma. Heavy unemployment struck in the early 1920's and the membership dropped to the point where the Charter lapsed in 1923 and was reinstated in 1925.

On February 1, 1930, the Boilermakers affiliated with the All-Canadian Congress of Labour and became Local #2 - Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders of Canada with 19 members paying an initiation fee of $1. Lodge 191 was still in existence at this time, as the Charter never lapsed until 1944, but unfortunately, there were no records available for this period to give us an inkling as to its activities. A collective agreement which was in effect at the Victoria Machinery Depot Co. Ltd, in 1940 shows the Boilermakers were paid 90¢ an hour.

Early in 1945, a rift broke out between the Boilermakers Local #2 and its parent body, the Canadian Congress of Labour and there was talk of disaffiliation. The dissention was actually aimed more at the newly formed Shipyard General Workers Federation than the Canadian Congress of Labour. A vote took place and the result of the balloting favoured disaffiliation. The Local then turned to the Trades and Labour Council who issued a Charter calling the new organization, the Victoria Shipyard Workers Federal Union, Local #238.

In 1951, Local 238 had a strike situation on its hands and the members were in need of strike benefits. Local 238 committee members met with two officials of the Boilermakers Brotherhood regarding the re-affiliation with the Brotherhood. On October 4, 1951, a special meeting was called to discuss the matter of re-affiliation thoroughly and a vote was taken. The members of the Victoria Shipyard Workers' Federal Union Local #238 made the decision to return to the Brotherhood after an absence of 21 years. This action led to the return of the Local to the Brotherhood and Lodge 191's Charter was reinstated on October 23, 1951.