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June 6, 2019

Taking Our Place: Stories from Leaders of Canada’s Nurses Union Movement


From the Foreword by Linda Silas

by Ann Silversides

This book tells the story of nurses unions in Canada through the experiences of 32 of their key leaders, past and present, as told to author and journalist Ann Silversides. Our stories reveal how a handful of mostly women from across the country managed to change the profession of nursing, so that instead of being seen as handmaidens who are subservient to doctors, nurses are now recognized as highly skilled professionals unafraid to advocate for their work unit, their community and the world.

As captured in this book’s fireside chats, we have experienced many challenges and won important victories over the years. We hear first-hand about the heady early days of founding our unions and negotiating first contracts, and the regressive political agendas that led to job action and organizing for unity in the 1980s and 1990s. Readers can follow along as we have fought for greater visibility for nurses, broadened our advocacy and gotten more political than ever before from 2000 through to today.

Throughout, as a profession overwhelmingly comprised of women, nurses union leaders have encountered overt and covert sexism, not only from employers and governments but also from within…Nurses union leaders have had to earn respect for their expertise and prove themselves time and time again.

Today the CFNU has taken its place as Canada’s nurses, with a membership who exercise the professionalism and respect that a generation of leaders fought for, as they speak up every day for their patients and communities.

Featuring profiles of the following national and provincial nurses’ union leaders:

Madeleine (Nonnie) Steeves, New Brunswick
Winnie Kettleson, Nova Scotia
Dan Anderson, Ontario
Tom Patterson, Nova Scotia
Irene Giesbrecht, Manitoba
Jeanette Andrews, Newfoundland and Labrador
Jane Murray, Prince Edward Island
Kathleen Connors, Manitoba
Dorothy (Dot) BraggNewfoundland and Labrador
Linda Silas, New Brunswick
Pauline Worsfold, Alberta
Heather Smith, Alberta
Vera Chernecki, Manitoba
John VivianNewfoundland and Labrador
David Harrigan, Alberta
Debra McPherson, British Columbia
Florence Ross, Alberta
Debbie ForwardNewfoundland and Labrador
Rosalee Longmoore, Saskatchewan
Janet Hazelton, Nova Scotia
Sheila LaityNorthwest Territories
Marilyn Quinn, New Brunswick
Linda Haslam-Stroud, Ontario
Régine Laurent, Quebec
Vicki McKenna, Ontario
Jane Sustrik, Alberta
Mona O’Shea, Prince Edward Island
Tracy Zambory, Saskatchewan
Paula Doucet, New Brunswick
Cathryn Hoy, Ontario
Darlene Jackson, Manitoba
Leanna Gustafson, Manitoba