It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Len Shankel. Len was a long time President of Local 9 (32 Years). But he was more than that. Len was a giant in the labour movement. He along with a few others help lay the ground work of the present day PPWC. He was one of the early members who seen a need to break away from the International Union. At one point in this struggle Len along with 4 other Local 9 members were fired from the pulp mill, at the urging of the International, because of their attempts to break away from the International. In true PPWC fashion the members of Local 9 banded together and supported these 5 brave men, financially and in solidarity, till they were re-instated and our Local was born. Not only our Local but the Independent Canadian Union which is now known as the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC).
Len was a passionate union man. He fought for what was right and did it selfishly and without hesitation. Even after his retirement Len would help out at a moment’s notice, whether with family, friends or down at ECRA. Len was a fixture most weeks down at the Union hall having a coffee and seeing what was shaking!! He loved to hear what was going on out the mills. He would listen, give advice when needed but most importantly connected us the caretakers of this great Union and Local to our predecessors who fought long and hard on the picket lines and on the shop floors to ensure our members had a say in their worksites. Never forget the benefits we all enjoy today were fought for by these great men and supported by the members of this Local. Our companies did not give these benefits to us out of the goodness of their hearts. They were fought for and earned!
Len was very proud when we named one of our bursaries after him. The Len Shankel Continuing Education Bursary was large part of who Len was. He said many a times that it was the utmost importance of our Local to ensure we trained our members to look after their affairs on the shop floor and with the company. Education was key!! It only made sense when the Local was looking at bringing our bursary administration in house that we would recognize Len for his accomplishments, and pay his philosophy forward to our kids, grand kids and families.
We would like to extend our condolences to Len’s kids, Lavona and Jason and the rest of the Shankel family. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of you.
Rest in Peace Brother Shankel. You will be dearly missed and never forgotten!
President, PPWC Local 9