Gee, George

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Gee, George

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George Gee was born on July 22, 1908 in Virden, Manitoba, where he lived with his parents and 9 brothers and sisters. After his father's death in 1909, the family's financial situation worsened until foreclosure forced the family to scatter across Canada in search of employment. Gee stayed in Manitoba working as a labourer until the stock market crash of 1929 forced him into the ranks of the unemployed. He then moved to Princeton, British Columbia to join his brothers. While in Princeton, Gee and his brothers supported themselves with odd jobs and George increasingly came under the influence of his brother Bill, who had joined the communist party in 1932. He also became affiliated with well-known communist organizer Arthur "Slim" Evans while helping with the Tulameen Coal Miner's Strike in 1933. In March of 1934, Gee married Lillian Smith-Mitchell of Princeton, B.C. Gee left Princeton in 1935 and took a job with Peterson Electric in Vancouver, B.C. Soon after, Gee was laid off and joined the communist party. In 1936, he left Vancouver for Seattle, Washington where he found steady work and joined the Local 77 chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.). In 1937, Gee moved back to Vancouver and worked for B.C. Electric. This same year, George and Lillian had their first daughter, Joyce. The Gee family welcomed their second daughter (Shirley) in 1939. On August 4, 1939, he began his career with the Local 213 of the I.B.E.W, where he went on to serve as a business agent from 1946-1955. During these years, the Gees had two more children, a daughter (Bonnie) and a son (James). Gee was expelled from the union in 1955 due to his political affiliation, where after he returned to his job at B.C. Electric (from which he had taken a leave of absence from 1946 on). After only working a half-day, Gee was fired because of his expulsion from the I.B.E.W. Five days later, close to 300 electrical workers walked off the job in protest to Gee's dismissal. From the date of his firing in 1955 until 1957, Gee made a series of attempts within the I.B.E.W. to be reinstated. The attempts all failed and were eventually followed by a trial in the Supreme Court, which rejected Gee's charges against the I.B.E.W. After Gee's defeat in The Supreme Court, he ran a small heating business called G&B Heating until 1960, when he, his wife Lilian, and their son James moved to Edmonton, Alberta. He worked there as the western representative for The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (U.E.). In 1967 Gee moved back to Vancouver, B.C., and continued to fulfil this position until his retirement in 1974. By 1974, The Gees purchased property in Davis Bay, Sechelt. Gee was actively involved in political affairs, civic affairs and was one of the founding members of the Sechelt Communist Party.

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