PARTNERSHIP-FOR-IMPACT ANNOUNCEMENT

The New Westminster & District Labour Council and PowHERhouse Impact Media Group partner for impact.

The New Westminster & District Labour Council (NWDLC) was formed in 1966 to give a greater voice at the local level for the unions and their members in the Lower Mainland. Over the years, the NWDLC has realized notable success in increasing diversity of leadership in the 14 communities in their region.

Current elected officials in these communities endorsed by the NWDLC:

5 Mayors

27 Councilors

25 Trustees

They have also notably diversified leadership on their own Executive Board through an equity mandate in the bylaws. Although they have experienced much success supporting candidates who share their values, they also recognize a need to further leverage their impact with even greater gender equity and racial diversity in political leadership.

Preparing for a Better Future with Greater Diversity in Political Leadership is a new initiative championed by the NWDLC in partnership with PowHERhouse Impact Media Group. It is described as an innovative, inviting, and inclusive comprehensive engagement and preparatory program for women and non-binary people who may be interested to run in a political campaign in the next one to five years.

Janet Andrews NWDLC round (Small)

Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer

“The focus of this program is to build a network of diverse and exceptional leaders for municipal political office and school trustee positions. We also acknowledge the value of a runway approach to running for office made possible through union positions, board positions, committee appointments, advisory groups, and volunteering for other campaigns. There’s been talk about building more diversity into politics for years, and we are committed to ensure this talk becomes a tangible and measured reality.” ~ Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer

Janet Andrews is the full-time Secretary-Treasurer of the New Westminster & District Labour Council, which represents over 60,000 union members in fourteen municipalities in the lower mainland of British Columbia.

Janet is proud to be a part of a grass roots, local organization with a strong tradition of workers speaking out on issues affecting them in their workplaces and in their communities. A member of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union Local Lodge 764, Janet has served on her Local’s Executive Board, as both Women’s and Political Action Committee Chairperson, on Bargaining Committees and as Chief Steward of her bargaining unit.

Janet is currently serving as one of the labour representatives on the Metro Vancouver Regional Economic Prosperity Management Board and is on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. She has a BA in Classical Studies (UBC) and an MA in Classical Archaeology (UBC).

More information on the NWDLC and their work can be found at www.nwdlc.ca, or by contacting nwdlc@shawcable.com

Janet Andrews NWDLC round (Small)

Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer

“The focus of this program is to build a network of diverse and exceptional leaders for municipal political office and school trustee positions. We also acknowledge the value of a runway approach to running for office made possible through union positions, board positions, committee appointments, advisory groups, and volunteering for other campaigns. There’s been talk about building more diversity into politics for years, and we are committed to ensure this talk becomes a tangible and measured reality.” ~ Janet Andrews, NWDLC, Secretary-Treasurer

The NWDLC recognizes that successful leaders have benefitted from mentoring and support to run in politics.

In most cases, women and non-binary people must be asked to run for political leadership positions because they don’t see themselves reflected there. The longer-term vision of this initiative is to build a movement where women and non-binary people see themselves in positive and powerful political positions with a clear path to get there.

And the need to be asked becomes a faint and distant memory.

Coleen Jones, President, NWDLC

“This project is both a clear, deliberate call and an invitation to join a preparatory program experience. It is an opportunity for unions to provide tangible support for their members to run for political office in their communities. The NWDLC will be asking our affiliated unions to nominate and support members who identify as women or non-binary, with priority on those also identifying as IBPOC, for this opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and a direct path to success though a simple, proven process." ~ Coleen Jones, President, NWDLC

Coleen Jones NWDLC round (Small)

Coleen Jones started as a temporary letter carrier at the Prince George Post Office in 1989. Her experiences confirmed her belief that workers needed to be treated with dignity and respect, and so she quickly got involved in the Prince George Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

In Prince George, she held a number of executive positions within the local, and became a WCB advocate.

In 2004, Coleen Jones was elected to the full-time position of Regional Education and Organization Officer of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Pacific Region. In that capacity Coleen developed educational programs, organized courses and supported Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers in their campaign to achieve equity.

Coleen Jones decided to go back to working as a letter carrier in 2012. She became a member of the CUPW Fraser Valley West Local and continued to work on behalf of postal workers. She became the Grievance Officer of the CUPW Fraser Valley Local and prepared grievances, and presented at arbitration. Coleen became active in the New Westminster and District Labour Council.

In 2019 Coleen was elected as National Director of the Canadian Union of Postal Pacific Region, she is the 1st woman to hold this position, and now sits as one of 6 women of the CUPW National Executive Board, and is a member of the CUPW National Women’s Committee. Coleen is also an executive member of the New Westminster and District Labour Council.

Coleen is the proud mother of two grown sons. She has a dachshund Roscoe, who much to her consternation still barks at the letter carrier.

Coleen Jones NWDLC round (Small)

Coleen Jones, President, NWDLC

“This project is both a clear, deliberate call and an invitation to join a preparatory program experience. It is an opportunity for unions to provide tangible support for their members to run for political office in their communities. The NWDLC will be asking our affiliated unions to nominate and support members who identify as women or non-binary, with priority on those also identifying as IBPOC, for this opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and a direct path to success though a simple, proven process." ~ Coleen Jones, President, NWDLC

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to use a gender-aware lens to build better communities.

By activating and empowering more women and non-binary people who share our values of strong, inclusive, resilient, healthy communities, we ignite a clear path to successfully run for elected municipal office for future generations.

Preparing for a Better Future with Greater Diversity in Political Leadership kicks off this Spring 2021 with the following two opportunities. Further details will be released in April 2021.

NWDLC Announcement #2-4

FireCircle Gathering in May featuring inspiring and informative panels and interactive small-group sessions with local champions in politics (both past and present)

Preparatory Group Cohort Experience led by former two-term mayor, Christina Benty, a strategic advisor to numerous municipal leaders across Canada, and Indigenous founder, impact media visionary, and former two-term municipal councillor, Charlene SanJenko.

To learn more about this initiative and receive event details and program updates, please register here: