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Unions gave over $520,000 to NDP this year

Donations from trade unions and fundraising events to the B.C. NDP party far exceeded corporate donations to the party this year.

Donations from trade unions surpassed $520,000 with the largest donation from the B.C. Federation of Labour at $137,500. Fundraising events brought in a net income of over $328,000 with several events grossing over $10,000 each.

The B.C. Federation of Labour, more commonly know as the B.C. Fed, was the largest donor to the B.C. NDP party this past year with donations totalling $137,500. The Federation represents over 500,000 B.C. workers in more than 50 affiliated unions according to their website.

Affiliated unions include the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

In 2005, B.C. Fed donated over $418,000 to the B.C NDP. In 2006, the B.C. Fed contributed just over $6,000 and in 2007 they donated over $21,000. Since 2005, the B.C. Fed has donated over $580,000 to the B.C. NDP.

The second largest donations to the B.C. NDP were from the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) and the United Steel Workers (USW) Canada including USW District 3 as well as a number of USW locals.

The BCGEU donated over $74,000 to the B.C. NDP this past year. According to its website, the union represents over 65,000 individuals in over 550 bargaining units in direct government service and both the public and private sector.

In 2005, the BCGEU (staff development fund) donated over $212,000 to the B.C NDP followed by just over $10,000 in 2006. The union donated over $86,000 to the B.C. NDP in 2007. Since 2005, the BCGEU has donated over $380,000 to the party.

USW Canada, along with USW District 3 Western Canada and a number of locals, donated over $100,000 to the B.C. NDP this year. With a total of 250,000 union members across the country according to its website, USM Canada has 65,000 members located in the steel and mining industries, traditional sectors for the union. Members are also found working in a number of other areas including factories, hospitals, universities, hotels, bakeries and banks.

The B.C. NDP received over $122,000 from the USW in 2005 and over $4,000 in 2006. In 2007, the USW donated over $19,000 and since 2005, total donations exceed $250,000.

With donations totaling over $62,000 to the B.C. NDP this past year, the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) Local 378 was another top donator to the B.C. NDP.

COPE Local 378 represents over 10,500 union members in public and private sector companies in British Columbia according to the union’s website. COPE Local 378 is also affiliated with the B.C. Federation of Labour as well as the Canadian Labour Congress and Provincial Labour Councils.

Donations from COPE Local 378 to the B.C. NDP exceeded $88,000 in 2005 and just under $7,000 in 2006. In 2007, donations to the party came in around $13,000 with donations since 2005 totaling $171,344.

The Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU) Local 180 donated over $48,000 to the B.C. NDP this past year with donations since 2005 totaling $67,980.

Other top contributors to the B.C. NDP include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM & AW) District 250 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 38 each donating $10,000.

Another hefty chunk of the B.C. NDP’s funding came from fundraisers the party puts on in order to raise money for campaigning.

“All of the events are open to the public” and not just party members, said Jeff Fox, president of the BC NDP. He said 72 per cent of the party’s donations come from people who are not NDP members.

The money from the fundraisers is distributed 50/50 with 50 per cent of the funding going into the constituency that held the fundraiser and the other 50 per cent going to the provincial party.

Morgan J. Modjeski and Ashley Gaboury report for The Tyee.

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