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 Irene Lanzinger has been elected the new president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

More than 2,200 delegates cast their ballots today (November 27) for the province's top union leader.

Lanzinger will be the first woman to lead the federation. She replaces outgoing, 15-year president Jim Sinclair.

"I am so humbled, so proud to be your voice," she told delegates at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Local 247 President Suzanne Hodge stated "Irene is certainly the right woman for the job and will lead the BC Federation well with her experience and dedication to the labour movement."

Lanzinger has been the secretary-treasurer of the federation since 2010. Prior to that, she was the president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

Irene was unanimously endorsed by the Local 247 Officers and Executive Board as well as included UNITE HERE Local 40, the BCTF, and Unifor.

Lanzinger won the election with 1,137 votes. Amber Hockin, the other contender for the position of president, secured 1,080 votes.

Despite the close vote, Lanzinger said she's confident that delegates will leave the federation's convention "united".

"We have a very strong and proud tradition in the B.C. Fed of being united," she said in an interview.

"We had an election two years ago, and we came out of that election united. This one was much closer to be sure, but I have tons of respect for the unions that supported the other candidate, supported Amber, and I have a lot of respect for Amber."

As for being the first woman to lead the federation, Lanzinger said, "it's about time".

"Women are half the workers in this province, and actually a majority of union workers are women now," she said. "So it’s time for a woman, and I’m delighted that that’s what happened here."

Aaron Ekman has been elected the new secretary-treasurer for the federation. 

Ekman, who campaigned for the position on a joint slate with Hockin, lives in Prince George. He is the northern regional coordinator with the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union.


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