(1946 – 2014)
Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario, Ontario Federation of Labour
For over four decades, Julie Davis devoted herself to improving the lives of working people in Ontario. In the 1970s, she served as a steward for the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). By the 1980s, she was pioneering the rights of working women, when women were breaking down barriers and achieving progress in their struggle to end gender discrimination and inequality.
In 1986, Julie was elected as the first woman officer at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). In a male-dominated labour movement she broke new ground, becoming an inspiration for women in the labour movement. She served as the OFL’s Executive Vice-President from 1986 to 1988 and Secretary-Treasurer from 1988 to 1995.
Social justice was at the core of Davis’s activism in the labour movement, in the women’s movement, and ultimately in her political career with the Ontario New Democratic Party. She was elected President of the Ontario NDP, and led the charge in the Ontario NDP’s historic win in 1990. She also served as the labour representative on the NDP’s federal council during Jack Layton’s leadership.
Davis knew social justice could be achieved only when trade unionists joined forces with other advocates. She supported grassroots mobilization, encouraging the work of many activists, and was instrumental in organizing and sustaining countless coalitions.