Red Deer City Councillor and long-time labour activist Dianne Wyntjes has been named as the winner of the 2011 Alberta Federation of Labour May Day Award.
“I can’t think of a more worthy recipient,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). “This woman has been a phenomenal advocate for all workers – in support of a social agenda for the betterment of all of society. She has done it on her terms – with integrity, commitment and dedication. She is a credit to our movement.”
Wyntjes described the award as a very special honour.
“Now, as I am enjoying the work of City councillor in Red Deer, I take with me many of the lessons I learned in the labour movement – the values of working together, of listening, of respect, of solidarity and the importance and significance of public services in our communities.”
The May Day Solidarity Award was created in 1989 and is given to an Alberta trade unionist that has made an untiring contribution to peace, social justice and the improvement of working conditions and workers’ rights for all Albertans.
Wyntjes has enjoyed a varied career, ranging from early jobs as a dishwasher and at a burger joint, to her first permanent job with the federal government in Red Deer, where she was a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 417.
She started working for CUPE in 1980 and has held a number of positions with the union and, for the last 12 years, she was Alberta Regional Director.
She was also active with the Office and Professional Employees Union Local 491 and held the positions of Steward, Recording Secretary and President. She has been active with the Red Deer and District Labour Council, holding positions of Secretary and President. She has been a long serving member of the Alberta Federation of Labour Executive Council and a facilitator with the Canadian Labour Congress, the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
In October 2010, Wyntjes was elected to Red Deer City council.
The May Day Award was presented on the closing day of the biennial convention. The AFL, which represents 140,000 workers, re-elected Gil McGowan as president and Nancy Furlong as secretary treasurer.