John McCracken | CUPE Communications

Dawn Lahey is a dedicated activist. She’s worked in the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial library system for 35 years and has been active in her local for 34 of those years. 

Dawn Lahey

She has been president of CUPE 2329 since 1988, vice-president of CUPE NL for the past six years and on the Division executive since 1993, originally as recording secretary.

Says Lahey, “I have spent most of my work life involved in the labour movement. This involvement has enabled me to understand that workers have the right to work in an atmosphere where their rights are respected by employers and I have made it my mission to ensure that happens in my workplace.”

As if to confirm the oft-quoted statement, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person’, Lahey is also a past member of the National Anti-Privatization Committee and a current member of the National Library Workers’ Committee since its inception. She has been a member facilitator since 1986, sits on the St. John’s and District Labour Council executive and is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour Education Committee. 

A passionate advocate for workers in the library sector, Lahey says, “Library work has often been devalued by employers and governments and I have worked to change those mindsets over my years of involvement. We have been fortunate to be able to fight for workers’ rights through our union and collective bargaining here in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Unfortunately, it only takes one regressive government like our current Liberal government to dismantle improvements that have taken decades to build up. It’s almost impossible to believe
that a provincial government in this day and age would think it is acceptable to close half of the entire library branches across the province. This is why we must always be vigilant and never take our working conditions for granted.”