Educate ~ Communicate ~ Engage ~ Mobilize ~ Empower
Deb is an activist, not only a labour activist but also a social justice and environmental activist as these issues are intrinsically connected. Deb is also currently a labour endorsed Durham District School Board Trustee, for the term 2022 -2026.
Deb started her journey in the labour movement back in the late 80s, while working at the Toronto District School Board, she was elected to the union executive of the Association that represented School Board workers in the Secondary Schools. Then in the 1990s Deb mobilized the membership during the Harris Days of Action alongside the broader labour movement and negotiated a merger agreement with CEP (Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union - now part of UNIFOR) to position the for the school board mergers.
Through the merger votes of the 90s Deb became a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and one of the Vice Presidents of CUPE L4400. As chief negotiator for a bargaining unit of 6000 members during a round of bargaining that took 38 collective agreements and merged them into 3 and also resulted in a two-week strike. The following round of bargaining Deb headed up the strike committee and led a successful two-week strike of 12000 members across all of Toronto. This is where Deb quickly finessed her organizing and mobilizing skills
In 2001 Deb became a National Representative with CUPE and during her 21 years on staff she organized thousands of workers into the union, developed and ran numerous campaigns in union to union representation votes across various sectors, worked with struggling locals who had low member engagement and participation, as well as bargaining collective agreements and presenting at Labour Board hearings and rights arbitrations. Deb is currently a member of UNIFOR - Canadian Freelance Union.
Throughout my time in the labour movement Deb consistently observed, at all levels of unions, the struggle with member engagement and mobilization. This has a direct impact on all areas of the labour movement from fighting back against oppressive legislation to having the strength to negotiate good collective agreements when faced with difficult employers. In response to this Deb worked with DMD partner, Michelle Miller, to develop a process for unions and their locals to assess their needs and develop a strategic plan that includes member engagement and mobilization.
In January 2022 Deb retired from CUPE and took a contract with The Society of United Professionals and in the fall of 2022 decided to run for DDSB Trustee when the Labour Council was looking for progressive candidates. Once again, Deb's campaign and engagement skills served her well and in October 2022 she was elected as Trustee.
Deb would love to help you realize your union’s full potential!