Hartman, Grace

Grace Hartman, labour leader (b at Toronto, Ont 14 July 1918; d there 18 Dec 1993). Hartman was the first female unionist to hold the top position in a Canadian union. In 1954 she joined the National Union of Public Employees (TLC), where she held several local and provincial positions. When the CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (CUPE) was formed in 1963 by a merger of her union with the National Union of Public Service Employees (CCL), she was elected to its national executive as a regional VP for Ontario. Hartman successfully campaigned for full collective bargaining rights for municipal and school board employees. She promoted women's rights inside and outside of the labour movement.

In 1981 she was jailed for counselling an illegal strike; she insisted that hospital workers, legally barred from striking, must have full collective bargaining rights. In 1965 Hartman was elected one of CUPE's 5 general VPs; in 1967 she became the national secretary-treasurer, in 1975 the national president, and in 1976 Canadian Labour Congress general VP. She retired in 1983 but remained active in many public interest groups and served a term as president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.