Bill Broad (1922-2015)

BroadInterviewee: Bill Broad
Profile: Bill Broad, AUPE’s founding president, was born in Britain in a low-income family. Leaving school at 14, he had become a unionized machinist on strike while still a teenager. Enlisting in the Royal Air Force at age 18, he became an aircraft mechanic who was transferred to the Commonwealth Air Training Base in Carberry, Manitoba. He remained in Canada after the war, marrying and farming, eventually returning to aircraft repair before resuming his education, completing high school and then two university education degrees. He was subsequently hired as an instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, making him a member of the Civil Service Association of Alberta (CSA). He served as CSA president from 1972 to 1976. Determined to turn the former company union into a full-fledged membership-controlled union, he led efforts to rebrand the CSA as the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. He served as the union’s first president from 1976 to 1977 before becoming president of the National Union of Public and General Employees, an organization of which he is quite critical in the interview. Broad laments the Lougheed government’s Public Service Employee Relations Act, which denied the right to strike to public employees. But he believes that in the pre-Klein era, the union was able to bring public service workers’ pay closer to what their equivalents in the private sector earned than in the pre-AUPE period.
Keywords: Aircraft mechanic; Canadian Labour Congress; Civil Service Association of Alberta (CSA); Machinist; National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE);  Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT); Public Service Employee Relations Act; Yellow Cab.
Transcript: Download PDF

See also: Alberta Federation of Labour; AUPE