Robert Anglade, Edmund ‘Too Tall’ Campbell and Shandokan Wilson were men of honuor, during the Night of Labour hosted by the Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) on Wednesday, June 5 at the Bahamas Public Services Union Headquarters.
Campbell and Wilson, who are unionists, were singled out for their loyalty in providing freedom and justice for workers in Grand Bahama, and businessman Anglade and his family were awarded for their unwavering love and compassion toward their employees.
The three were showered with gifts of love, soulful music and delicious treats, while favoured with support by family members and friends that gave brief encouraging words and heart-felt testimonies about their service.
National Congress of Trade Union Bahamas (NCTUB) Fourth Vice, Quintin Laroda and his Co-Chairman, Kirkland Russell both remarked the men and their time served in union will never be forgotten.
Laroda shared, the Night of Labour is a new feature created by the BPSU and has become a part of the Labour Day movement, giving unions an opportunity to celebrate veterans.
“This year we have chosen Edmund Campbell, affectionately called ‘Too Tall,’ from the BaTelCo Union (BCPOU) and Shandokan Wilson from the Customs and Immigration Allied Workers Union, and we are here to celebrate with them and let them know that we appreciate, respect and honour their contributions to the movements. This year, we added a new feature where we are also honouring, for the first time, an employer, Mr. Anglade, who treats his employees very well.
“Mr. Anglade, who was chosen, did something very commendable which led to this day. When the company, Municipal Motors closed down to engage in renovations, the employees did not lose any pay or any benefits. Most of the time you have businesses that find ways not to give their employers funds, but this responsible employer and corporate citizen went out of his way to make sure his employees didn’t suffer when the business was closed for that period of time,” Laroda disclosed.
“We wanted to recognize him and this is something that is going to continue every year. We will look for outstanding employers that have good industrial relations with the labour movement and the labour movement would make them a part of what they celebrate.
“This is a combination of longevity and contribution and then we try to be as fair as possible, not giving the award to the same person every year, because we know that throughout the labour movement, there are workers and leaders that put their shoulder to the wheel and help us to progress the way we are now,” he added.
Russell, Vice President of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress noted that the men were outstanding citizens, who gave valuable service to the success of their various unions and indeed their various congresses.
“Tonight, we honour Shandokan Wilson, who is the founding president of the Bahamas Customs and Immigration Allied Union and we honour Edmund ‘Too Tall’ Campbell an outstanding Shop Stewart from the BCPOU. Mr. Wilson would’ve done what most presidents haven’t done and that is to actually start a union. Most presidents today inherited a union, but Shandokan Wilson was a part of that team that actually took a union out of the ground and formed a union. So, I say kudos to him.
“A lot of times when trade unionists or individual leaders start an organization, after years, people would tend to forget those individuals; but that is where all the heavy lifting is done to make life easier and better for those in the future,” said Russell.
“Also, I think this year for me, I am more excited than anything else and that is for the Anglades, the owners and operators of Municipal Motors. This is the first time, I believe, in the history of The Bahamas, inclusive of Nassau and Grand Bahama, where trade unions have decided to honour an employer.
“The patron of the award, Alexander Thompson and most people may not recognize Alexander Thompson by name, but if you were around during the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union, you would know that Mr. Alexander Thompson was the engine in the vehicle.
“Mr. Thomas Bastian was the president of that crew and he did the work. But behind the scene, there was a man call Alexander Thompson, who would’ve been a very powerful and strong negotiator, a very strong and powerful organizer, a man who was able to cut deals with the minister, prime minister, employers and help make the union one of the formidable unions at that time,” Russell recalled.
He noted that the Anglades represent the type of ideals compared to the time of Thompson and Bastian era. “They represent some of the issues that Mr. Alexander Thompson fought for. These men are the men of the night and they deserve everything given to them.”
This news daily reached out to the honorees, who took the opportunity to share their gratitude at being awarded.
Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) retiree Campbell, who worked in the Engineering Department said, “Working at BTC, I don’t think I could’ve had a better job. It gives you the opportunity to learn a lot, you don’t just learn one thing. You get to do a lot of training and also working at BTC gave me the opportunity to be inside the union.
“I started out as the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation Union (BTCU) Shop Steward, I have been that for many years and for the last six years of my employment at BTC, I was the Area Vice President for Grand Bahama.
“Tonight, is very special to me especially in this building. I remembered when I first joined the union at BTC, these buildings were under construction.”
Speaking to being selected, Campbell said persons remembered his empathy. “I think one of the reasons I was honoured is, because of my former colleagues in the union and some of my workers looked at me as a person.
“People leave home with all different types of concerns and sometimes it affects their work performance. People have issues with their children, finances and to be a good Shop Steward or a union person, you have to be a good listener. Although they say union people like to talk, you have to be a good listener.
“The main thing is to be helpful to people, because when you get into this union thing, it is addictive. When you hear something going wrong with someone, you just want to find out what’s going on and help. People who have major jobs would over look you and that’s why you need the union.”
Formed in October 21, 2010, Wilson shared the Customs, Immigration and Allied Union was born out of an injustice that had happened by the BPSU.
“Presently we are not fully supported but we still have a good size membership. It is not what it should be, but we relatively have quite a few people.
“I feel humbled and privileged to be honoured today. I was quite shocked to be honest, because being in the trade union for less than 10 years, it was quite a few persons that deserve the honour more than I do and for me to be chosen was quite humbling.”
Wilson informed he achieved a few goals and despite rumored difficulties, he was able to meet and overcome the challenges.
“During my reign, we were able to implement an initiative where government would have to pay the amenities for an officer leaving from one island to be transferred to another island. We had it in place where the government would have to pay for light and water bills and getting all those things set up.
“Before time when we were making the overtime, we would’ve had to pay for those things out of our own pocket, but it was only because overtime was present,” said Wilson.
For union leaders currently holding a presidential position, Wilson encouraged them stay focused.
Managing Director of Municipal Motors Anglade, expressed the recognition was humbling.
“This really came as a surprise for me. I am very honoured and humbled to have been chosen as the first recipient of the Thompson Employer of the Year Award. It is nice to be recognized.
“Municipal Motors is a family owned and operated business. It is a medium size company with 24 employees and it has been in business since 1984,” said Anglade.
Opened 24 hours, six days a week, he continued “It is an extension of my family and we go through thick and thin together. I think we built a solid core of individuals within the company and it has showed, because most of my employees have been with me for decades.”
Questioned on running a successful business, Anglade advised, “I think that it has to come from the heart. I don’t think you should work to be rewarded or applauded, I think everything will come naturally if it comes from the heart.
“I also think compassion is a very important thing. When you are dealing with people, very often, for example in our business, we deal with a lot of people and young men in particular on this island really get criticized a lot. But personally, it is an investment, you have to invest into your staff. You get from your staff what you put into them,” said Anglade.