Goodwin, Albert

Albert Goodwin, "Ginger," labour leader, socialist (b at Treeton, Eng 10 May 1887; d near Comox Lake, Vancouver I 27 July 1918). A resident of Cumberland, BC, he participated in the 1912-14 Vancouver Island Coal Strike. In 1917 he was elected to the executive of the BC Federation of Labour and to the presidency of District 6 of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in the Kootenays. He later organized the Trail Trades and Labor Council, which he led in a strike at the lead/zinc smelter of Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada for the extension of the 8-hour day.

When conscription became law in 1917, Goodwin was classified as fit for military service even though earlier health concerns had previously rendered him temporarily unfit. By then he had enemies not only in management and the government but also in the union of which he had been president. After twice vainly appealing his reclassification, he and several other draft evaders hid in the bush near Cumberland, where they were provided with supplies by people from the town. Police Constable Dan Campbell tracked Goodwin down and killed him. Campbell was charged with manslaughter but was exonerated before a grand jury, meeting in camera.

Goodwin's friends, both then and in the years since, have pointed out many discrepancies in the official record. On the day of his funeral, August 2, the Trades and Labor and Metal Trades Council of Vancouver called all members out for 24 hours to protest "the shooting of Brother A. Goodwin." The overwhelming response gave BC its first general strike.