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Celebrating activism for women’s rights

By Maureen Mariampillai, Communications Staff

Mar 29, 2023

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AUPE’s Women’s Committee proudly hosted its annual Day of Validation and Equity (DOVE) Event on March 16. It was an evening filled with celebration, storytelling, and, most importantly, recognition of this year’s DOVE Award winner, Laura Johnstone. 

Laura received the DOVE Award for her outstanding contributions to the betterment of women, our union, and all Albertans. 

2023 DOVE Award
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Representatives from several allied organizations joined us in celebration, including the Alberta Labour History Institute, HSAA’s Women’s Committee, the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada, and Migrante.  

Just as in previous years, the DOVE Award ceremony highlighted the important role women play in our union and the labour movement—how women’s rights are fought for on shop floors, picket lines, and in the streets.  

2023 DOVE Award Winner
DOVE Award Winner Laura Johnston (centre-left) with members of AUPE's Women's Committee
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DOVE Award recipient Laura Johnstone 

Laura is a psychiatric aide and has supported Albertans in this role for over 27 years. This year, Laura celebrates 20 years of AUPE activism.  

Coworkers will tell you Laura is someone who uplifts others, is a woman of her word, and is always just a text or call away. She is a mother, wife, grandmother, and a passionate activist who is proud of AUPE. 

She is a fierce advocate for women’s rights and always encourages her fellow members to use their voice—to speak up at work and within the union.  

But Laura is not someone who just talks the talk: she uses her voice to create action. She has served as the vice chair and chair for Local 046, Chapter 007. She has also served on AUPE’s Occupational Health and Safety committee as well as her worksite’s Employee Management Advisory Committee. 

Laura credits AUPE’s annual convention for igniting her activism. “That’s when I got hooked and started taking every course, and really became a union activist,” she says. Laura has now attended 17 conventions as a delegate. 

Not only has Laura taken the fight to her employer as part of her negotiation team, she also organized a Bill 11 information picket, inviting other unions like CUPE, HSAA and UNA to stand up for continuing care alongside AUPE members.  

Laura is a firm believer that union activism will take you places—her advice is to never stop fighting for your rights.    

Congratulations, Laura! 

2023 DOVE Award Event

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