PDFPrintE-mail Written by Davison Shillingford Friday, 13 May 2011 23:54

Emmanuel Christopher Loblack was an immensely courageous and exceptionally astute union organizer when unions were considered a dangerous threat to the established order. He co-founded the Dominica Trade Union, and is considered the Father of the Dominica Trade Union movement.

E C LoblackChristopher Loblack was born in Grand Bay, Dominica, on August 29th, 1898, the son of working class parents, Sam and Eva Loblack. He attended the Grand Bay Primary School, trained as a mason, and entered Government service as a mason-builder in the Public Works Department. He remained with government until 1943.

Loblack had a strong sense of justice, with a special concern for the poor, and a great capacity for identifying and representing the problems of the working class. In 1939, Loblack met with the Moyne Commission that was visiting the island investigating labor conditions in the West Indies. He took its members to the slums of Roseau and complained bitterly about labor's low wages and poor working conditions. Lord Citrine, one of the Commissioners, suggested the formation of a trade union. After tramping throughout the island and successfully confronting almost universal skepticism and opposition, Loblack, supported by Ralph Nicholls and Austin Winston, organized the Dominica Trade Union in January 1945, with Loblack as General Secretary. This Union played a critical role in the political evolution of the island. Later in 1945, Loblack was elected Vice President of the Union; and in 1949, he represented Dominica at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in London, England. In 1956, Loblack was elected President of the Dominica Trade Union.

Building on his organizational skill and his trade union base, Loblack, in 1955, co-founded the Dominica Labor Party with Phyllis Allfrey; and, in 1961, the Honorable Christopher Loblack was the Labor Party's nominated member to the Dominica Legislature. However, in 1962, with the growing ascendance of Edward LeBlanc within the Party, Loblack and Allfrey challenged LeBlanc for the Party's leadership; they lost, and were expelled. Undeterred, Loblack, in 1968, with Eugenia Charles, Phyllis Allfrey, and others, launched the Dominica Freedom Party, which went on to win the national elections in 1980, 1985 and 1990.

Loblack was one of Dominica's preeminent trade union pioneers and social and political activists. He was universally trusted and often sought out for his advice. He received the Dominica Meritorious Service Award (MSA), the Award of Distinction from the Bustamante Institute of Public and International Affairs in Jamaica, and the UK's Order of the British Empire (OBE). The EC Loblack Bridge in Roseau, the capital, was named in his honor.

He married Eireen Joseph in 1919; and after her death, married May Magdalene Maxime in 1944. He had 12 children - 5 boys and 7 girls. He died June 3, 1995, a highly respected member of the community, and a hero to the working class.

For his lifelong championing of the working class, his launching and astute leadership of the Dominica trade union movement in the face of immense opposition, DAAS honors the Honorable Emmanuel Christopher Loblack.

Contributed by:
Davison Shillingford
May 2011

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:49

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