Breaking through barriers for workers
who have children with special needs



January 22, 2016


Greetings Sisters and Brothers:

A giant of trade union solidarity who accomplished much for children, their families, and postal workers has moved on. On Friday, January 15th, 2016 Sister Jamie Kass, CUPW Child Care Coordinator, retired after 20 years of tireless work on behalf of postal worker parents and their children. While we wish her all the best in her new journey, she will be missed. She leaves behind much we can be proud of. If the measure of solidarity how much you have made a positive influence for others, Jamie scores very high. She made our union look good and carved out something very unique and special.

Jamie’s leadership and tenacity in making the Child Care Fund Appendix “L” work for postal workers, is a testament to her commitment to the goals of the Fund and to postal workers, their children and to high quality, inclusive child care for all families.

Working closely with community partners, Jamie over saw the creation of the Special Needs and Moving On Projects Today these projects support over 400 CUPW parents and their children or adult sons and daughters with disabilities. Members from 80 CUPW locals across the country access supports, web-based resource materials, newsletters and one-on-one advisor support.

Under her watch, CUPW led the way in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with the Family and Child Care Connections: Family Resource Centre and the licensing of home child care providers. With Jamie’s leadership, CUPW has pioneered the way and today through the Fund supports eight child care programs and support services across the country.

And we continue to undertake vital research to help CUPW better understand and meet the needs of postal workers and their families.

Jamie would be the first to say that there is much work still to do. She would be the first to say that not one union or one union fund can build accessible, affordable and inclusive child care for every CUPW family that needs it. She would be the first to admit that only through working with other unions, advocacy groups and by getting CUPW members involved in the fight will we achieve the kind of child care system that truly supports workers to balance work and family life.

So while a great trade union sister takes her time to retire, the work of the Fund will continue. Jamie, being who she is, knew that a good period of training would be needed to assure a smooth transition. She knew we would need to have someone well versed in the Fund, the issues, the projects and to have a strong sense of the work that still needs to be done! I would like to take a moment to introduce our new Child Care Coordinator Shellie Bird.

You can be assured there are many things underway and we hope you and your local will get involved and that one day we will see public, high quality affordable child care spaces for every child. When that day comes it will have been helped by the visionary and pioneering work of Sister Kass.

In Solidarity,


Dave Bleakney

2nd National Vice-President

2015-2019 / Bulletin #67 

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