Bread & Roses Awards
Honouring outstanding contributions to advocating for issues important to nurses.
The phrase “bread and roses” traces its origins back to the successful 1912 textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike was largely led by women; the strikers’ demands for fair pay and dignified working conditions were summed up in the slogan: “We want bread, and roses too!”
Closing out the first day of business, we took a moment to honour two prominent nurses union leaders and a safe blood supply advocate for their outstanding contributions to policy, decision-making, patient advocacy and raising public awareness of issues important to nurses.
P.E.I. Nurses’ Union President Mona O’Shea was elected in the spring of 2010 and has been known since as the voice of nurses in her island province. Now in her fifth term as President, O’Shea has fought for patients and nurses when the province began eliminating vacant positions. She has overseen the expansion of PEINU through the inclusion of primary care nurses in the province, and shown leadership in supporting PEINU’s affiliation with the PEI Federation of Labour and the successful growth of the PEI Health Coalition.
United Nurses of Alberta Second Vice-President Daphne Wallace began her nursing career in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and became a union activist within weeks. In 1990, after working as an RN and union ward rep in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, she came to Alberta. She has been active in her union ever since, holding office at every level. In 2013, she was elected to the position of second vice-president, a position she still holds today.
Kat Lanteigne, a Toronto-based writer and advocate, is one of the co-founders and executive director of BloodWatch.org, a not-for-profit organization advocating for a safe, voluntary and public blood system in Canada. BloodWatch is committed to upholding the recommendations of Justice Horace Krever’s 1993 inquiry into the origin of Canada’s tainted blood scandal. Since 2013, her tireless advocacy has helped achieve landmark legislation to protect our voluntary public blood system in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
In addition to Thursday’s award recipients, Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff also received the Bread & Roses Award. Yussuff’s award was presented to him during the convention’s opening reception, last Monday, for leading the Congress to embrace and champion the cause of a public pharmacare program in Canada.
Congratulations to all recipients of this prestigious award. You’re an inspiration to us all!