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The Canadian Union of Public Employees is mourning the loss of one of its most formidable leaders.

Tom O’Leary, an outside municipal worker with the city of St. John’s, died in a St. John’s hospital last night. He was 67.

CUPE NL president Wayne Lucas says, “O’Leary rose through the ranks of the union to become a member of CUPE’s national executive board, where he served for 12 years.

He was also the president of CUPE NL from the mid 1980’s to mid 1990’s and the president of his own local, Local 569, for more than two decades.”

Says Lucas, “This is a huge loss for the CUPE family. Tom provided virtually a lifetime of dedication to the cause of working men and women. That kind of leadership doesn’t come around very often.

He was a fiery, outspoken defender of worker’s rights and he was not afraid to take a stand on issues. He embraced the ideals of the labour movement as a very young man and never lost sight of them.”

CUPE National President Paul Moist says, “Tom O’Leary will be remembered in CUPE for his years of dedication and service to CUPE members and to all working people in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He was also known for his wicked sense of humour and his passionate, rousing speeches at conventions, rallies and on the picket line, says Moist.

On behalf of CUPE’s 550,000 members across the country, our hearts go out to his family and friends who are mourning his loss today. We know he will be sadly missed.”


For more information:

Wayne Lucas
President, CUPE NL
(709) 727-2509 (cell)

Paul Moist
CUPE National President
(613) 237-1590 (office)

John McCracken
Communications Rep
(902) 455-4180 (office)