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Life-long union activist honoured for years of service

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'2012 Retired Worker of the Year Honouree'

Bev McCloskey (C) honoured for more than 60 years of service

Bob White, Ken Lewenza, (name unknown), Jenny Ahn

Still feisty and full of spunk, retiree Beverly McCloskey   award winner of the prestigious Agnes Macphail Award, was recently honoured for her more than 60 years of work with the union.

The award was presented at the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Family Education Centre in Port Elgin during the union retirees' annual conference.

McCloskey was a trailblazer who began working at General Motors in 1949 when she was 20 years old.  "That year, a 22-day-long wildcat strike was my first experience with the union," she said.  "I've been a steadfast union and social activist ever since."

Throughout her years with General Motors, McCloskey held a variety of positions that featured work on several committees.  For 17 years, she served on the Executive Board of the UAW Local 222 as recording secretary.  At the time, it was the only executive position a woman could hold.

McCloskey  formed the first women’s UAW committee in the Canadian Region in September,1968 that lobbied for provincial legislative reform.

"I'm retired from the job," says McCloskey, "but not the fight."

She is a founding member of the Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre and Sunrise Seniors' Place, and also sits on their Boards in addition to working to conserve Oshawa’s waterfront as an 'Esteemed Friend of the Waterfront Marsh'.

After a lifetime of political activism, working for women's equal rights and working toward the adoption of legislation banning sex and marital status discrimination in the workplace and other social justice causes, McCloskey continues to work tirelessly to achieve greater justice and equality in the workplace and broader society.

 

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Saturday, September 08, 2012