By: Harold Chorney, June 1986
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Grace Hartrnan, a person who has spent a lifetime dedicated to the cause of social progress and justice on behalf of working men and women in Canada and who has been an important contributor to the cause of equal rights for women in the work force.
Grace Hartman was born in Toronto and educated at Harbord Collegiate. She began her career as a union activist shortly after joining the staff of North York township in the early 1950's. For eight years she served as president of her union local. She was also elected to a number of senior union executive positions. In 1963 she was elected president of the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. In 1967 she was elected national secretary-treasurer. In 1975 she was chosen president of CUPE. As president she became the first woman to head a major union organization affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress. Indeed, CUPE is one of Canada's largest unions.
Grace Hartman served as head of CUPE from 1975 until 1983. She also served as a general vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress and as a member of the executive board of the Public Service International. In the latter capacity she was the first woman on the board of this organization in its history. From 1981 to 1985 she served as vice-president of this organization.
Grace Hartman has also served as president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and as a member of the Federal Status of Women Council. She has been both a strong and energetic voice on behalf of women's equality, as well as a powerful activist on behalf of workers in the public sector and working men and women, in general.
From her youth right up until the present, Grace Hartman has fought energetically and courageously for justice, equality of rights and proper recognition of the contribution of working people to our society. She has been a staunch defender of the rights of working people to organize trade unions, to bargain collectively and where necessary to strike to ensure that justice is done and the stature of working people protected and advanced. At a time when we some¬times appear as a society to be forgetting the important role that working people and trade unions have played in advancing the cause of social justice and equality, and thereby making Canadian society a better place, it is particularly fitting that we honour Grace Hartman for her service to this noble cause.
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Grace Hartman, that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
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