Mary Johnson wins Judy Cook Award

June 22, 2012

The Judy Cook Woman of Achievement Award was established by the Manitoba Federation of Labour to honour the memory of Sister Judy Cook by recognizing her dedication, commitment and significant contributions to the Women’s Movement, her community and to the labour movement as a whole.

Yesterday, the 2012 Judy Cook Woman of Achievement Award was presented to Sister Mary Johnson. The MFL Women’s Committee presented Sister Johnson with bread and roses along with the award. 

Sister Johnson served as a full-time negotiator with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 from 1992 until her retirement in 2010.  In that role, the Sister ensured that women’s issues and their family responsibilities were addressed satisfactorily at the bargaining table.  She is indeed a pioneer for women’s rights in male dominated industries and achieved many firsts as a union activist.

Mary Johnson receives the Judy Cook Woman of Achievement Award

In addition, Sister Johnson has served as a Board member with her children’s child care centre and Burns Employees’ Credit Union, and continues to serve on the Board of the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation.

The Sister is no stranger to politics, working in every Manitoba election campaign over the last 35 years.  She has served multiple terms as President of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba

The Award us named after the late Sister Judy Cook. Sister Cook was born in St. Louis Missouri, becoming a dedicated activist during the 1960’s as part of the American Civil Rights movement.   In the 1970’s, Sister Cook relocated to Winnipeg where she continued her activism as the director of Volunteer Services at Klinic Community Health Centre.  True to her union roots, the first thing Sister Cook did was organize her co-workers into a union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Mary Johnson - winner of the Judy Cook Woman of Achievement Award

She was a member of the Boards of Directors for Legal Aid Manitoba and the Community Unemployed Help Centre and was active with the Manitoba Association of Community Health.

Sister Cook was named Executive Director of the Manitoba Federation of Labour Occupational Health Centre in 1985 and steered it through many challenging times until her death in 1998.