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I am saddened to report that Johanne St-Amour, an Assistant Director of the Quebec Region, lost her life last month, following a seven-year courageous battle with cancer.
She was 51 years old.

CUPE has lost a great Assistant Director and a strong activist, and her 16-year old son has lost a loving and caring mother.

In the mid-1970s, with a university degree in literature, Johanne started working for the Red Cross, coordinating educational services. Not long after, she became President of Local 2375. Under her leadership, the Red Cross staff sought a first collective agreement, but the organizing process turned into a dispute with the employer. Johanne was thrust into an epic conflict marked, in 1978, by several months of lockout before the employees, mostly women, finally reached their first contract.

Then, in 1979, Johanne became an instructor for the CTM (Conseil du travail de Montra006c/Montreal Labour Council) and CUPE. This same year, she became actively involved in the Womens Committee of the Conseil du Qub0065c (which later became CUPE-Quebec). Her commitment for the cause of women has never wavered since.

In September 1981, she became a permanent staff member and, as such, was in charge of CUPEs educational services for over twenty years. Those who knew her during all those years recognize the quality and efficiency of her work. As Director of educational services she met hundreds, if not thousands of activists in every sector, in this union as well as in others.

Last September, at age 51, she became Assistant Director of CUPE for Quebec.

Theres an anecdote I would like to share with you, if only to exemplify Johannes dedication to CUPE.

While chairing CUPE-Qub0065c Divisions convention in 1995, as I was then CUPE-Qub0065cs president, I noticed on our 4th day into convention that Johanne was absent. Someone told me she was not feeling well.

I thought it was only normal since the night before she finished her assignment as a rep at four in the morning, finalizing workshop reports.

I learned later that she had deferred entering hospital for oncologic assessment and treatment until after convention, against the urging of her oncologist and much to his chargrin!

I am certainly not resorting to a formula when I say that she served beyond the call of duty. To Johanne, CUPE came first our union was bigger than any individuals. Thats the CUPE she wanted. I admired her for it.

We will miss her greatly.