Lil Godfrey discusses her life in the Lake Cowichan area during the 1940s, including housework and trade unionism in the region. She talks about where her support for trade unionism came from, her family’s immigration to Vancouver Island, actions undertaken by the lumber industry unions (including a 1946 strike), and fundraising in the Women’s Auxiliary. During the interview she looks through her scrapbook of correspondence and publicity regarding trade union issues and actions.
Lil Godfrey discusses the Greenwall family history, including her family’s life in Extension and Wellington, mining communities near Nanaimo, BC. She talks about the effects of the 1912-1914 miner’s strike, the arrival of the militia, and the hardship on families. She mentions her father’s death in an explosion at the No. 5 Pit, Wellington Colliery in 1927. She also discusses the her teacher training, lack of jobs during the Great Depression, her marriage, and she and her husband’s move to Lake Cowichan for his logger job.
Lil Godfrey & June Olson describe their childhood living conditions, including food and power shortages, and the work their mothers did to feed them, clothe them, and advocate for the community’s needs (for example, roads and healthcare). They describe their fathers’ experiences with logging work, including difficulties with the seasonal nature of the job, and the lack of unemployment insurance.
Lil Godfrey and June Olson discuss the various issues advocated for by the IWA Women’s Auxiliary, disaffiliation with the American union, and factionalization within the union. They also discuss pensions, red baiting, and their experiences with forming a co-op grocery and credit union in their community.
Lil Godfrey and June Olson discuss methods for organizing on the logging camps, the importance of active participation in unions, and the ways union participation has changed. They also discuss the types of work done by the Women’s Auxiliary, and the war effort. Finally, they discuss the 1946 Strike, the role of the Women’s Auxiliary within the strike, and media coverage of the strike.
Lil Godfrey and June Olson continue discussing activities and issues taken up by the Women’s Auxiliary, including the types topics covered at educational meetings. They also talk about organizing between communities, how they became involved in the Auxiliary, the skills they learned through their involvement with the Auxiliary, and community events they helped organize.
Lil Godfrey and June Olson talk about family life at Lake Cowichan; their husbands’ extended stays in logging camps; bunk house living conditions; camp safety; reasons for forming the Ladies’ Auxiliary; and the role of families in the 1946 strike and the Victoria Trek.
Lil Godfrey and June Olson talk about the importance of the Auxiliary to each of them; the value of learning how to run a meeting; social activities like bazaars, dances, sports days, and quilting bees; some casual conversation that includes discussion about treatment of activist and blacklisted men.
June Olson and her husband, Nels Olson, discuss the Lake Cowichan logging industry and their families’ roles in it during the depression and war years. Nels gives an overview of the many companies that worked there including McDonald Murphy Logging. Tree felling safety issues are discussed.