Asian Heritage Month – A Spotlight with Harvey Woo and Harry Lew

It’s Asian Heritage Month in Canada and we would like to shine a light on two of our most well-known Members from the Asian Community – Harvey Woo and Harry Lew.

This pair of best friends (or “besties” as they call one another) can always be found working together whether it’s through our Political Action Committee, at our social events, or fixing things around the office.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to find such a close friend through working with your Union.

Harvey, tell us a little bit about how you started at Calgary Transit?

It was 1999 and I was working for a warehouse in NE Calgary at the time. I had had enough of the poor work/life balance so I started looking for something new and stumbled on Calgary Transit.

What made you decide to become a representative for ATU 583?

I had been a fairly regular attendee of our Regular Membership Meetings and in 2010 I was nominated by the sitting Financial Secretary Treasurer for Chief Steward of Maintenance. At the time I didn’t know anyone on the Board or any of the Stewards. It was my first role in the Union and a big one at that!

Harry did an interview with us in August of 2020 that explains his background with the Union that can be found here.

When did you meet Harry?

Harry and I officially met on a trip to the AFL Jasper School in 2011.

Harry, can you tell us what you remember about first meeting Harvey?

I remember telling him during the nomination meeting in 2010 that it would be okay and not to be nervous. He obviously wasn’t expecting the nomination.

Harry, can you tell us some of the accomplishments you have achieved?

My biggest accomplishment is certainly becoming the Financial Secretary Treasurer of the Local. I was also Chair of the Sign-Up Committee for six years where I was able to meet and talk to a lot of Operators.

Harvey same question:

I volunteer as much as I can and I think my biggest accomplishment is working to make our Retirement Banquet and Family Picnic the best they can possibly be for the Members.

Meeting your best friend through your union is a unique experience, can you tell us about how you grew to be so close?

Our friendship definitely turned into best friends when we attended the 2013 International Conference in San Diego. I (Harry), love to take photos at conferences and Harvey came around with me that year. It was a real bonding experience.

What have you learned from one another?

Harry: I’ve learned to be more hardworking. Harvey is the hardest worker I know and he is always ready to lend a hand.

Harvey: Harry has taught me to be a better Steward. On a more personal note, he has also taught me more about our shared Chinese heritage, including some lessons on Cantonese. Some I can share, like “hou pang jau” (好朋友) which means good friend. Others, Harry got me in trouble for when I said them in front of my mother.

What is something memorable from your time together with ATU 583?

Harry: I think just growing closer as we worked together for the Members. We take vacations together and those are always an amazing time.

Harvey: I think I would say that 2013 San Diego Convention. We had a great time.

ATU Local 583 is incredibly proud to be represented by two such dedicated and delightful people. If we made this post about all of the things these two have contributed over their years with ATU 583 it would be a very long article. They are the type of Members a Union is lucky to have.

As Asian Heritage Month comes to an end in Canada, we are reminded that deep down we are all the same. Looking for jobs that meet our needs, looking for friendship, and trying to be the best we can be.

On behalf of our Local, thank you to Harry Lew and Harvey Woo!


Image Descriptions: Four photos, two on the top and two on the bottom, showing two smiling friends at various locations. A third friend is seen in one photo, on the top right, as well.

Photos clockwise from top left: Harry and Harvey smiling back to back at the ATU 583 Fall Banquet, Mike Mahar, Harry and Harvey on a couch, Harry and Harvey at the Day of Mourning Wreath Laying Ceremony and Harry and Harvey on vacation.

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