Each year the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) awards the names of five distinguished trade unionists who have made a significant contribution to working people in Ontario.
This year, the Ontario Federation of Labour was pleased to announce that Heather Kelley one of five who were selected as one of this year’s honourees. Her name was submitted by Brother Stan Pickthall, IAM Canadian General Vice-President and will be added to the plaque in the Federation’s office.
“I was proud to put forward Sister Heather Kelley as a candidate for the Ontario Federation of Labour Honor Roll, and even more proud to see that she was selected as one of only five recipients. Heather has been a strong and dedicated activist for IAM members, for Sisters in the labour movement, and for all working people across Canada. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this prestigious award,” said Stan Pickthall.
“Congratulations to Sister Kelley on this outstanding accomplishment,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Those of us in the IAM are well aware of the positive impact she’s had on our membership and the Canadian labour movement. It’s very gratifying to see her being recognized by the Ontario Federation of Labour for those very contributions and her life-long dedication to fighting for others.”
Heather became a member on February 1, 1979, after starting work at Fleet Industries in Fort Erie. Heather worked her way up from the ranks as a member of IAM Local 171 in Fort Erie. Her activism included serving as a Steward, Chief Steward, Health and Safety, Negotiations, right up to President of her local. She quickly became involved in her Local and the Ontario Provincial Council before becoming an IAM Representative in 1997. She represented the IAM as a Grand Lodge Represented (GLR) for more than 20 years before retiring in 2020.
Heather has worked tirelessly as an advocate for all workers, fighting for social justice and worker’s rights in every jurisdiction where the IAM has members. No IAM members can remember a time when Sister Heather Kelley wasn’t playing an active role within the union and the greater labour movement.
The other awardees are: Cheryl Fullerton, OECTA (retired), Cindy Dubué, OSSTF (retired), Mary-Jo Nadeau, CUPE (deceased) and Megan Whitfield, CUPW (deceased).