劉海倫天生領導者

劉海倫(Helen Liu)於2017年12月去世,但所有認識海倫的人都會想念她和她活潑的性格、笑聲。海倫是UNITE-HERE Local 75工會成員的領袖,天生就是一位領導者。

海倫在她的祖國中國是音樂教師,1989年來到加拿大。 海倫在皇家約克酒店(Royal York Hotel)任職客房服務員,由於她有能力讓別人感到受歡迎,她轉到了員工食堂工作。憑藉她勤奮的組織工作和善良,海倫掘起為費爾蒙皇家約克酒店工會最受尊敬的領導者之一。她成為值得信賴的談判委員會成員,並加入了 Local 75 的執行委員會/團結委員會,她的貢獻受到高度重視。

海倫孜孜不倦地為那些第一語言不是英語的人維護權益。她將所有族裔的成員聚集在一起,致力於共同的事業。作為酒店工人崛起運動的領導者,海倫幫助人們關注從事看不見工作的女性,她們在多倫多打掃酒店房間。她幫助在皇家約克酒店和整個城市建立了強大的工會運動。海倫會說普通話、廣東話和英語,為多倫多移民工人面臨的挑戰發言。2007年,她的積極精神得到認可,獲頒發多倫多市的公平與人權獎(Access Equity & Human Rights Awards),並被授予康斯坦斯·漢密爾頓婦女地位獎(Constance E Hamilton Award on the Status of Women)。

劉海倫獲頒發多倫多市的公平與人權獎。

海倫還是多倫多華工網絡(Chinese Workers Network)的創始成員之一,多年來一直擔任移民權利和酒店工人崛起運動的主要發言人。海倫就移民到多倫多和在服務業工作的現實和困難做了無數次演講。

從酒店業退休後,海倫積極參與安省華人老年協會(Ontario Chinese Seniors Association)組織活動,該協會在大多倫多擁有1200多名會員。從與老年人一起積極爭取公交正義和公交負擔能力,到教不會說英語的老年人歌唱O’Canada,海倫即使在退休後也為社會正義不知疲倦地工作。每年7月1日加拿大國慶日,海倫都會帶領安省華人老年協會合唱團,在多倫多舉行的紀念鐵路華工儀式上獻唱國歌O’Canada和表演其他歌曲,而海倫則以手風琴伴奏。

海倫激勵其他人在我們的勞工運動和更廣泛的社會正義運動中發揮領導作用並擔任志願者。值得注意的是,她領導的所有運動或活動都是出於自願的基礎上,提高了成為工會活動家的標準和期望,並激勵其他人也這樣做來建立我們的運動。她的奉獻精神和出色的領導能力再次得到認可,於2017年成為表彰對勞工和人權運動有貢獻的布羅姆利·勞埃德·阿姆斯特朗獎(Bromley Lloyd Armstrong Award)的得奬者。

海倫獲頒Bromley Lloyd Armstrong Award與華工網絡成員合照留念。

2017年6月,就在她去世前幾個月,她接受了華工網絡工人播客系列的採訪,她用普通話談到了移民工人需要組織起來和由工會代表。

海倫用她富有感染力的微笑和笑聲將所有人團結在一起 , 當談話和情況變得艱難時,她總會講出一個搞笑的故事來緩和氣氛!

海倫爭取公交正義獲TTC Riders 表揚。

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Helen was born a natural leader

Helen passed away in December 2017, but everyone who knew Helen Liu misses her and her vivacious character and laughter.  Helen was a member-leader of UNITE-HERE Local 75 and was born a natural leader.  

Formerly a music teacher in her home country, China, Helen came to Canada in 1989.  Helen worked at the Royal York as a room attendant but due to her ability to make others feel welcomed, she moved to work in the employee cafeteria.  With her hard work of organizing and kindness, Helen rose through the ranks as one of the most respected leaders at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.  She became a trusted negotiating committee member, and joined the Executive Board/Solidarity Committee of Local 75 where her contributions were highly valued. 

Helen was a tireless advocate for those whose first language was not English; she brought together members of all ethnic groups to work together towards a common cause. As a leader of the Hotel Workers Rising movement, Helen helped to shine a spotlight on the invisible work of women across Toronto who clean hotel rooms.  She helped build a strong union movement inside the Royal York and across the city. Speaking Mandarin, Cantonese and English, Helen spoke out about the challenges for immigrant workers in Toronto.  In 2007, her activism was recognized with the Access Equity & Human Rights Awards at the City of Toronto and she was awarded the Constance E Hamilton Award on the Status of Women.  

Helen was also one of the founding members of the Chinese Workers Network and served as a key spokesperson for immigrant rights and the Hotel Workers Rising campaign for many years. Helen has made countless presentations about the realities and difficulties of immigrating to Toronto and working in the service sector.  

After her retirement from the hotel industry, Helen was actively involved in organizing Chinese seniors in the Ontario Chinese Seniors Association which has over 1200 members in the GTA.  From actively campaigning together with all seniors for transit justice and transit affordability to teaching seniors to sing the lyrics to O’Canada when they don’t speak a word of English, Helen worked tirelessly even in retirement for social justice. Accompanied by Helen as their accordionist, the Chinese seniors’ choir performed at the Day of Mourning and Chinese Railroad Workers commemoration ceremonies on July 1st.  

Helen inspired others to take leadership and volunteer in our labour movement and the broader movement for social justice. It is worth noting that all of her leadership was on a volunteer basis, raising the bar for what it means to be a union activist and inspiring others to do the same to build our movement. Her leadership was recognized in 2017 as a recipient of the Bromley Lloyd Armstrong Award.

In June 2017, just a few months before she passed away, she was interviewed by the Chinese Workers’ Network Workers’ Podcast series where she spoke in Mandarin about the need for immigrant workers to organize and be represented by a union. 

Helen united everyone with her infectious smile and laugh – she always had a hilarious story to tell when the conversations and situations got tough!