Mary Long- Social Service Worker, 2009
2011 Community Services Recipient
Mary Long, a life-long resident of Hamilton and a retired member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, was elected as the first woman president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council on December 3, 2009. A graduate of the Social Service Worker Program in 2009 and a professional member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, Mary has overcome tragic loss to embrace academic challenges and emerge as a dynamic leader, mentor and agent of change.
Mary has been the Safety Ambassador for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's "Safety starts with you" campaign, sharing her experiences following her husband's fatal workplace injury. It has been this tragedy, which has largely defined Mary’s volunteer and work commitments in recent years including co-founding a peer support group, through the Hamilton and District Labour Council, which counsels bereaved families through the impact of workplace fatalities. She has been the elected president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 216, where she has advocated for human rights and non-discriminatory practices. Mary has actively promoted the involvement of women from the labour movement in "Take Back the Night", and in 2009, organized the display that won the "most inclusive" award. Mary co-chaired and hosted the Hamilton Day of Action, "The People vs U.S. Steel", on January 29, 2011 that brought 10,000 people into City Hall plaza in support of members of USW Local 1005. She has also worked with the "Women of Steel" to enhance the annual "Norma Berti Breakfast" celebrating International Women's Day, making the 2010 and 2011 events the best attended to date.
Using skills developed over years of workplace experience, but honed at Mohawk, Mary has championed inclusiveness and equity in the internal operations and outreach of the Labour Council, including people from various cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds in the activities of the Labour Council. She has stressed connections to the LGTBQ community in Hamilton and has pushed the Labour Council to participate in positive space training. Not only did she implement the reading of a respect statement at every labour council meeting and event, but she has courageously enforced it too! The values of the profession – choice, equality, justice and access – are clearly the drivers that move Mary to relate the labour movement to the community in new ways.
Mary has also been honoured with many awards for her continuing hard work, including the Labour Activist of the Year, Social Services, 2010 from the Hamilton and District Labour Council, the Dominic Agostino Memorial Scholarship Award in 2008, the Human Rights Award and the Health and Safety Award in 2002 from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and was the 1997 Woman of the Year from the Mayor's Status of Women Committee, City of Hamilton.See other past recipients