The IAM Human Rights Department has taken on its own identity within the IAM, with the sole purpose of advancing equality and justice.
This February, the IAM Human Rights Department is featuring accomplished IAM members of the Black community in celebration of Black History Month.
IAM members being honored for Black History Month are among the many trailblazers in our union.
Nominated by: IAM Canadian Territory
In an historic moment on March 9, 2023, Vivianne Simon, an activist member of IAM Local 1295, shattered the glass ceiling by being acclaimed to the position of Business Representative at IAM District 78. This marked a ground-breaking achievement, as Simon became the first woman of colour to hold such a position in Canada and only the second woman to become a servicing representative at District 78.
Simon’s journey to this significant role began with her involvement in a mentoring program, where she was taken out of the workplace three times for mentorship (femtorship) sessions. Her last stint involved getting acquainted with various procedures, including bargaining, under the guidance of her mentor, Kim Valliere.
Prior to joining the IAM, Simon worked in the healthcare sector at the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre (UCCC), whose members joined the IAM in 2011. She actively helped to organise her workplace, eventually becoming the Chief Steward.
Originally from Jamaica, Simon arrived in Canada in 1974 and settled in Barrie, Ontario, where she pursued her education. With two sons and a grandson, her life revolves around providing primary care to her parents, who still reside in Barrie. She still participates in community events, such as Caribana, Jamaica Day, and Black History Month, celebrating Canada’s multiculturalism. She is also a member of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA).
Simon’s love for fairness and equality drew her to IAM, emphasising the importance of truth and knowledge in the union. She values the IAM’s focus on education and the Women’s, Human Rights, and Workers of Colour committees. The IAM provided her with a platform to voice her beliefs, and the supportive community ensures that everyone has each other’s back.
Believing in continuous growth, Simon’s appreciates the IAM’s mentoring program, acknowledging its role in her professional development. She emphasizes the union’s strength in knowledge and solidarity, allowing members to navigate challenges and advocate for their rights without fear of repercussions. As she continues her journey as IAM’s Business Representative, Simon stands as a testament to breaking barriers and creating opportunities for others in the union.
Simon hopes that many other women, and women of colour, join her in the representing the incredible members of the IAM.