Irene has a long history as a strong leader in the labour movement and is deeply committed to advancing equality, protecting vulnerable workers, and strengthening workplace safety. Irene was the first woman to be elected as President of the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED) and held that position from November 2014 up to her recent retirement in the fall of 2018. Prior to being elected President, she served as Secretary-Treasurer for the BCFED from 2010 – 2014.
Irene began her career as a secondary science and math teacher in Abbotsford. In 2000, Irene became chief negotiator for the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), bargaining on behalf of 41,000 members province-wide. She was elected Vice-President of the BCTF in 2002 and President in 2007.
While Irene plays a strong role within the Canadian labour movement, she has also broadened her union work to the international scene. She joined solidarity delegations to Namibia and across Latin America, including Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Columbia.