by Errol Black
I was pleased to read in today’s Free Press that Darlene Dziewit was invested with the Order of Manitoba. When I first met Darlene in the late 1970s she had just been appointed a union representative for the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 832 with responsibilities for union services in Brandon and area.
At that time, she serviced a local on the campus of Brandon University. She immediately impressed everyone with her energy, commitment, knowledge and skills. She was also outgoing and liked to get involved in discussions relating to the big challenges facing the labour movement and society in general, and was at the forefront of campaigns both within and outside the labour movement to advance the rights of women, minority groups and workers in general.
In a an article published in Labour In Brandon (a publication of the Brandon and District Labour Council) in 1978-79 , titled “Yes, We Have Come A Long Way!”, Darlene talked about recent gains in rights and benefits made by women workers. Her concluding statements reflected her philosophy on how we sustain human progress: “We must appreciate that our rights are not something naturally received, but earned through often bitter conflict…We must never lose sight of that fact…if we are to succeed in our efforts to further human rights.”
In recent decades, Darlene has played a prominent role in many of the key institutions in Manitoba, including the Manitoba Federation of Labour, the University of Manitoba, the United Way, and many boards and commissions of the Manitoba government.
Most recently, of course, she joined the board of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba.
Congratulations, Darlene on receiving the Order of Manitoba. You are indeed a worthy recipient. We also know that you would be the first one to say, “Yes, but we still have much to do.”
Errol Black is a member of the CCPA-mb board.