Marie Clarke Walker has won the unanimous support of delegates to the Ontario Division convention in her bid for election to the executive of the Canadian Labour Congress. Best known to many members as CUPE’s first Diversity Vice-President, Clarke Walker’s campaign was enthusiastically endorsed by the 500 plus CUPE activists.
“I’m running because I think my experience, drive and enthusiasm will help the CLC become more active and more relevant to workers and their families,” says Clarke Walker. “I want to be part of a team that takes the old adage ‘educate, mobilize, organize, agitate’ and gives it real meaning.”
Clarke Walker is an education assistant with the Toronto District School Board. In addition to serving on CUPE’s National Executive Board and the division executive, she has served on the bargaining committee of CUPE Local 4400 in two tough rounds of negotiations in which the 14,000-member local fought off concessions.
She’s been active within her community, as well as at the national level and internationally. Working with youth in downtown Toronto, serving on CLC committees or representing Canadian workers at the UN World Conference on Racism, Clarke-Walker has demonstrated her strong commitment to solidarity and equity – and her ability to get people working together to defend their rights.
“I’ve always worked to ensure my union activities link to and reflect the needs of the wider community,” she says. “Too many workers are only one step away from homelessness and poverty. We need to build a broad movement that says ‘we deserve and demand respect.’”
Clarke Walker is running for the position of Executive Vice President, a position left vacant with the retirement of Jean-Claude Parrot and the decision of Hassan Yussuff to put his name forward for Secretary-Treasurer.
In a letter to the CLC Executive, Judy Darcy and Claude Gnreux confirmed that Marie has CUPE’s strong support, bringing “solid experience and new ideas” and playing “a key role in building a 21st century Canadian labour movement that has both heart and muscle.”
The CLC convention is slated from June 10 to 14 in Vancouver.