BIU To Celebrate 70th Anniversary On Saturday

April 20, 2016

The Bermuda Industrial Union [BIU] will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Saturday [April 23] with a block party to be held on Union Square beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m.

A spokesperson said, “This seminal organization must be recognized for what it has done for its members and all workers in Bermuda during its seventy-plus years of existence.

“It is an organization that has been founded on principles of doing what is right for the people and protecting the rights of the people when no other organization would do so.

“Recent events remind us of how much we have forgotten and how the BIU has always stood for all persons regardless of ethnicity or gender or religious persuasion when discrimination on all these grounds and more was the norm in Bermuda.

“The BIU was officially registered as a trade union on April 24, 1947. Trade unions only became legally allowed in Bermuda in 1946 and early BIU records indicate that in December 1946, Brother Wycliffe Stovell, on behalf of the BWA “submitted an affidavit in connection with the registering of the Bermuda Industrial Union, to be signed in duplicate by the officers of the Union.”

“The Bermuda Workers Association [BWA] was founded in the early 1940’s by Brothers William Davis, Austin Wilson, Wycliff Stovell and Gerald Brangman with able support by several courageous sisters, notably Sisters Doris [Cholmondley] Webster and Althea DePina, and was led by Dr. E. F. Gordon.]

“Dr. Gordon was the first President of the BIU serving until his untimely death in 1955. Other BIU Presidents were Harold “Dish” Talbot, Leonard Bascome, Martin T. Wilson, Robert Johnston, Ottiwell Simmons and the Hon. Derrick Burgess who retired in March 2006. Brother Chris was elected BIU President upon Brother Derrick’s retirement.

Audio of a 1946 speech by Dr. E.F. Gordon, courtesy of the BIU:

“According to Sister Ronnie Burgess, who chairs the ‘Ways and Means Committee’ that is organizing the celebratory events, the block party promises to be exciting for both young and older members of the community.

“There will be games for both children and adults; a fun castle and vendors will be on hand to sell their wares, including food. Of course Bermuda’s national cultural icon ‘the Gombeys’. will be on hand to entertain attendees as well as a new sensational group, “The Dancing Divas”.

“There also should be an opportunity to hear something on our social history so that we all learn more about each other. With greater knowledge there is the opportunity for greater understanding and the building of a better Bermuda. All partners in Bermuda society and all residents will benefit from being present.

“The achievements of the BIU have always been the benchmark for moving the whole of Bermuda society forward. This may not be written about in the popular press but it is true and must be acknowledged publicly.

“This is a start to the education about the world of the Bermudian worker that has been called for as a prerequisite for a new era of prosperity, tranquility and justice.

“The BIU invites members, former members and the general public to join them on Saturday at the Block Party and to worship with them on Sunday, April 24, 2016 at the St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church as we give thanks for another year of existence and service to Bermuda. “

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Comments (29)

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  1. jo jo says:

    no work done then i guess

    • Tupac says:

      You mean by the OBA with regards to the 2000+ jobs and the gun violence plan Baron spoke about 2012 election to get voted in.


      • Bermyman says:

        How many Union members have lost Jobs?

        Is Gun violence up or down? More arrests and more convictions.

      • Black Bermudians should be GRATEFUL for the B.I.U., an Organization that defied the wicked injustice from the Oligarchy (the white elite), and still standing against the remnant’s that their off springs are trying enforce.
        Those Blacks in Bermuda that HATE the B.I.U. are victims of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.

        • Tolerate says:

          “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome”.

          • Ya, Google it you might learn something.
            Ironic how when white people talk about slavery like there is no long term effects.

    • TO jojo:
      Too much negativity spent on what Bermudians did for themselves weeks ago.
      Let it go, jojo, and accept that different people have different agendas.It does not make the PROTEST wrong.
      A Bermudian OF THIS SOIL would clearly understand what happened.
      Get over it and work will be done.
      Quit your negativity!!!!

  2. Kangoocar says:

    Will the fake hunger striker be there?? I am sure being she hungered striked ( all be it, she never lost any weight??) for their latest cause of disruption of our economy, she will be awarded, perhaps she might be given a couple of cases of Protien shakes, to replenish her supplies???

    • frank says:

      A******* like you are what. Bermuda does. Not. Need
      The biu. Has done. A lot for the. Workers. Of. Bermuda

    • Typical racist remark from someone with undeserved privilege, that’s what our forefathers fought against.

      • Bermyman says:

        your forefathers fought for people who make grandiose protests under the pretense they are starving themselves, but in fact they are feeding themselves nutritious protein shakes several times a day? I am sure they had much more important things to fight for than defending pretenders, surely?

      • wahoo says:

        How is that a racist remark?

  3. Family Man says:

    Is this party only open to current members that are contributing the BIU executive lifestyle or is it open to former members as well? You know, those BIU members who used to work at Marriott Castle Harbour, Club Med, Sonesta Beach, Lantana, Mermaid Beach Club, Harmony Beach Club, the BIU Co-op Supermarket, etc. Can they come and thank you for all you’ve done for them?

  4. mmm says:

    When one realises that there are some employers, and I say again, some empl oyers who will exploit workers, it became necessary to form an association to protect workers. Let,s give thanks, and encourage those who work for the betterment of all. It has been a very long and hard road, for our great gra ndparents, grandparents, and parents, we must maintain our vigilience as some empolyers seek to roll back/ dismantle what has been achieved. Our wor kers must continue with good work ethics and bring the younger worker pride and ambition as well. Our thanks to God, for His blessings, upon this small island.

    • Caption says:

      Yet they hold the whole island, including tourists, to ransom, when Furbert doesn’t like something which has nothing at all to do with the Union or its members,

      That is why some, and I say again, some, employees, despise the BIU leadership and all it stands for.

  5. CB says:

    The biu deserve hearty congratulations from all of us. Any organization who can last this long and be supported by hard working people for no reward deserve praise indeed. They should become a church then they’d not have to pay tax. CF are you listening?

    • hmmm says:

      For no reward…you have to be kidding me the BIU reward themselves handsomely. Take a look at the filed financials and the BIU salaries as a % of dues received

  6. mmm says:

    The Island has found it necessary to bring in people over the years to perf orm various jobs. The difficulty comes when work permits are renewed count less times for various categories, and with each guest worker he/she has in creasing expectation to deepen his/her roots and this tends to displace up-coming Bermudian workers. Is it a union problem ? Is it a labour problem ? No, but they are some-what connected…hundreds of Bermudians are in school abroad hoping one day to take their place in the work-force, thousands of Bermudians are currently out of work. And the Government wants to grant Ber muda status to guest workers almost in a casual way for some categories ha ving little or no regard for locals who need to have a job. So, it is a labour situation, and this is being watch ed by other workers as well, i.e. police,prison,teacher,nurses and quite a number of other workers not named here. If you have schooled your child through college, then there is the expectation that your child will have an opportunity to work, to hear that the job your child was hoping to have in 2018 was filled by a guest worker granted status in 2017 might be really, really disturbing. The Government does not have a keen ear to the needs of Bermudians to work, an ear yes, but not a keen ear.

  7. average Bermudian says:

    Where would you haters be working if it were not for the union.

    I sure you enjoy paid vacation, most people work a 5 day week.
    Insurance coverage etc.

    Thanks to the union.

    It is the employers that are turning this island upside down with their hiring (anti bermudian) practices.

    And the OBA promotes this with their attempt to ram through their foolish “status for everyone.

    That was only the tip of the ICEBURG that we saw for that week on the hill.

    Fey – laying low these days.
    out of touch with the average bermudian

  8. Bermyman says:


    • It would be a big economic problem for workers if it WAS’NT for the Union, they fought for wages to equal the cost of living,etc…………
      FOOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Bermyman says:

        Who pays for the majority of BIU workers wages?? – the non-unionized taxpayer or business owner.

        What is the most significant portion of our national debt contributed to? -Mainly BIU workers.

        In comparison to the non-unionized private sector worker how many BIU public sector jobs have been lost during Bermuda’s recession? – Very few.

        SICK PAY FROM BIU MEMBERS COST US $10M P/A – if we had saved all that in 20 years we could pay off our own airport!

      • serengeti says:

        How many jobs has Chris Furbert created?

    Unfortunately and repeatedly, you disrespect Bermudians. Your disdain,your abhorrence towards and your incessant opinions about BERMUDIANS are unintelligent.
    You are the MOST callous of all bloggers.
    May horror fill your life, SWIFTLY!!

    • sage says:

      Not to mention the kindergarten grammar and all those question and exclamation marks.

    • Earth watch police says:

      You live in horror your hate will consume you.