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Child care activist Jamie Kass is the winner of the second Grace Hartman award. The biannual award first introduced at the 2001 convention in Vancouver is given in honour of Grace Hartman, the first female national president of CUPE.

Kass a founding member of Local 2204, was recognized for her commitment to universal child care, and unrelenting local activism.

The union movement has so changed my life and the path that my life took. As we started to organize child care workers, we had a vision, a dream that child care workers across the country could make a living wage, that programs would get government subsidies, that there would be universal access like there is here in Quebec, said Kass in accepting her award.

Attending her first national convention as a 25-year old child care worker from Ottawa, Kass said she was introduced to CUPE activism by Grace Hartman who was chairing convention and national president Judy Darcy who was chair of the womens committee.

Most of my life I bridged the gap between the union movement and the child care movement. I found that the gap is not that big. All the skills that I learned are mostly because I learned them from the union, said a visibly emotional Kass.

Through her leadership, vision, and courage, Grace Hartman has been an inspiration to generations of women union activists. In 1981, during the Ontario hospital strike for better pay and bargaining rights, Hartman, CUPE Ontario President Lucie Nicholson, and CUPE Representative Ray Arsenault were sentenced to jail terms after defying government demands to return the strikers to work.