Judith Mongrain photo-portrait.
Date of birth: March 13, 1949
Accomplishments related to: Labour movement.
Major affiliations: CUPE
Raised in Westfort, Judith graduated from Confederation College in 1969. Beginning a career with the City of Thunder Bay she started working with Social Services, later with payroll and then as storeskeeper, retiring after 34 years of service.
Judy was the president of CUPE 97, the largest city workers’ union in Northwestern Ontario for more than 20 years. Because of her demonstrated leadership at the Local level, Judy was elected to many important positions nationally (CUPE National Executive Board Vice-President), provincially (Ontario Federation of Labour Vice-President), and locally (Thunder Bay & District Labour Council Vice-President).
Among her more significant accomplishments for the citizens of Thunder Bay was the successful fight to prevent the privatization of water and sewer, and garbage collection in the 1990s, and leading the fight to prevent the elimination of municipal child care services, starting in the 1980s.
Rallying against the Mike Harris Government in the 1990’s, Judith worked with Evelina Pan, President of the Thunder Bay District Labour Council and Chris Mather of Thunder Bay Coalition Against Poverty organizing unions and community groups. Two marches were held culminating in a massive rally on the CLE grounds in 1997 that saw 5,000 people, the largest gathering of citizens in Thunder Bay for a social cause: the Thunder Bay Day of Action.
Starting in the mid-1990s, the Thunder Bay and District Labour Council has held an annual Labour Day Picnic to celebrate all that working people have contributed to our community in the previous year and to present the Labour Person of the Year Award an award given to the person felt to have made the most significant contribution to the local labour movement in the previous year. Judy helped for many years on Labour Day, and was the first recipient of the Award.
CUPE97 newsletter highlights Judy’s retirement party. “Well attended by dignitaries from all over Ontario including CUPE’s National and Provincial presidents, our local NDP candidates, City Councillors, and other long time Unionist friends. Many great speeches were made detailing Judy’s 20+ years of being a strong activist for not only CUPE 87 but of all social causes locally and globally.”
“Women have always played an important role in our community’s life and aren’t often recognized for that contribution. The same holds true for workers, whose activities keep things going. In Judith M. Mongrain we have the perfect combination of the two.” -Evelina Pan
Judith Mongrain seated at table.
Submitted by Evelina Pan