On July 19, 1983, members of the BC Government and Service Employees Union, better known as the BCGEU, learned that the large Tranquille Institution in Kamloops, British Columbia would be shut down. For the 600 BCGEU members at the site, many of whom had worked with the residents for years, this was simply unacceptable. They decided to take matters into their own hands.
A hand-painted union flag was raised, locks were changed, managers evicted, and the workers took control. The unprecedented worker occupation lasted for 22 days. It was the first action to be taken under the banner of Operation Solidarity, the massive protest movement that brought the province to the brink of a General Strike. This is the story of the Occupation of Tranquille.
Learn the story of the 1983 Solidarity Movement: www.labourheritagecentre.ca/VMC
Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.
“General Strike” - D.O.A. (War and Peace 25th Anniversary Anthology; Originally appeared on General Strike 7″ benefit single, 1983). Used with permission by Joe Keithley.
“Anonymous Worker’s Poem” read by Danielle Lavallée.
Research and Script for this episode by Bailey Garden.
Clips from interview with Gary Steeves, conducted by Ken Novakowski in 2018, as part of the BC Labour Heritage Centre’s “Solidarity35” project.
On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing, May 2018.
Tranquility Lost: The Occupation of Tranquille & Battle for Community Care in BC by Gary Steeves. Harbour Publishing, October 2020.
“Suspect Located” – Scott Holmes.
“Cinematic Trailer” – Scott Holmes.
“Humanity” – Scott Holmes.
“Battle Hymn of the Republic” – US Air Force Band. The labour song “Solidarity Forever” by R. Chaplin uses the tune of this song.
“Epic Cinematic” – Scott Holmes.
“Drift” – Scott Holmes.