Friday, April 29, 2011

Brother Gord Piper

Brother Gord Piper
November 25, 1949 - April 22, 2011

It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Michael Gordon Piper, known to all as Gord, at his home in Victoria, BC, on Friday, April 22, 2011, age 61 years.

Predeceased by his parents George Gordon and Agnes (Gibbons) Piper, beloved Granny Mary, father-in-law Howard Chan.

Gord will be deeply missed by his wife Cindy Chan Piper, and his beloved son Gordon (Charissa); by his partner and soul mate for the past 21 years, Josephine (Josie) Keller and her family: daughter Julie (Richard) Stevens, grandchildren Amanda Post, Jessica (Jason) Erickson, Tabitha and Landon Stevens, and great-granddaughter Alexa Erickson, the sparkle in Gord's eye; by his brother Kevin (Barbara) Piper and their children (Julianne and Jessica), and his sister Suzanne Rogers and her children (Nathan, Kenny and Samantha), as well as his aunts and uncles; and by his multitude of CAW Brothers and Sisters in the trade union movement.

Gord was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He graduated from Delbrook High School in North Vancouver, where he excelled in academics, long distance speed walking and downhill skiing.  He completed two years of a Science/Arts degree at the University of British Columbia, as was a graduate of the Labour College of Canada.
Gord had a love of photography and a keen eye for nature shots, and was always willing to share his beautiful pictures with family and friends.

A Class 1 Professional Driver who was employed at Consolidated Fastfrate, Gord had been a Union member since 1980 and had been active within our Local since 1983.  Since February 2006 he had been on a leave of absence to work full-time for CAW Local 114 as a Local Union Rep, servicing our members on Vancouver Island and in the Southern Interior.

Throughout his 30 years of Local involvement, Gord  served on Bargaining Unit Committees and held an assortment of elected positions before being elected as the President of our Local, serving from 1988 until 1998. As well, he worked on Health & Safety issues and Workers Compensation Appeals on behalf of our members, as he had always concerned himself with the plight of others, especially the injured and those who had fallen between the cracks in our society. Over his time at the Local Gord had handled hundreds of WCB appeals and had an excellent winning percentage along the way for our members. He also donated many of his free hours towards research and written appeals for not only our members but those from other Locals and Unions, and was a tireless and selfless advocate on behalf of workers.

Even after being appointed a full-time Local Rep, he still did all of the Local's WCB appeals and was involved with worker’s rights under return-to-work accommodations and the Health & Safety concerns of our members in both Federal and Provincial jurisdictions.

Gord did all of this under the radar, and was a special person who did this work on behalf of injured workers without wanting any recognition of what he did.  Despite that, in December 2009 he was awarded the annual Bud Jimmerfield Award for Health, Safety, Environment and Workers' Compensation Activism by the CAW National Office.  At the presentation ceremony, Gord said it was a tremendous honour to work on behalf of CAW members who seek help, adding that these members always teach so much more than he could ever learn from any course.

Gord had also been very active over the years on the BC Federation of Labour's Health and Safety Committee. He also instructed seminars and educational courses for our many Unions, and was also certified to instruct the WCB's WorkSafe modules to our members and employers in British Columbia.  He was also an instrumental member of the Working Committee in trying to establish a “Workers Health Center” in British Columbia.

Gord exemplified the characteristics of caring and determination, and this, along with his desire to help others, made him such a special individual and such a great human being.

Gord was always humbled by the work that he did on behalf of our members and considered the Union, and especially the Local, his extended family.

In CAW Local 114 and for many other Locals and Unions in British Columbia and Canada, Michael “Gordon” Piper was a truly honest and dedicated colleague and a friend that will be missed but never forgotten in our hearts.

On behalf of CAW Local 114’s Staff, Executive and Membership, thank you, Gord, for the opportunity to share your life with us. You made a difference to everyone you came in contact with.

Josie Keller, thank you for being such a special part of Gord's life and sharing him with our Union family.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the CAW Office in Victoria (2nd Floor, 4248 Glanford Street) on Saturday, May 28th at 1:00 PM, and at the CAW Hall in New Westminster (326 12th Street) on Saturday, June 4th at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association or a charity of your choice would be appreciated.


  1. Please share your thoughts and stories of Gord with his CAW family. I miss Gord. He was a brother, friend, mentor and inspiration.

  2. Gord was truly an inspiration to me. He was a mentor and a friend. I will miss him coming into my office and our long conversations on how to handle the claims we dealt with. The knowledge I learned from Gord could not be learned anywhere. Gord I will deeply miss you and you will forever be in my heart.

  3. A Brother, a Teacher, a Friend, a Listener...

    I have known Gord for only 2 years, and he was an amazing inspiration filled with wisdom and passion.

    He would be the first one in the office to make sure the coffee was brewing when you got there, and the last one to leave at the end of the day. He always had a story, phone in hand, a funny face every once and a while, and "Just the WCAT" reference for you.

    Forever in our hearts my friend.