President’s Message on the passing of Local Representative Joe Benn

September 9, 2021 - It is with immense sadness and a broken heart that I inform you that USW Local Representative Joe Benn passed away just a short time ago. His sister Sue held him tight as he left us behind. Having suffered a catastrophic stroke in the early morning last Saturday September 4th, and having no chance of recovery, Joe has now been taken off life support.

Joe Benn had been servicing Units 207, 208 and 214 in northern Alberta, and has serviced our Alberta membership as a Local Representative since 2012. Prior to his tenure as a Rep, Joe had been a long-time rank-and file activist, hailing from TWU Local 207 Edmonton Clerical.

I met and worked very closely with Joe from 2000 through 2005, spending days and nights together seemingly without end when we both served on the TWU-Telus Bargaining Committee, and we have been the best of friends ever since. We were like Frick and Frack, where one went so did the other. Always having each other’s backs through thick and thin. I will miss him every day of my life.

Whether it was his commitment to justice, to his coworkers, to the bargaining team, to his friends, family and mentors, Joe revealed himself to be someone who wore their feelings and cares loudly and brightly.

Joe was more than my friend though, he was a treasured friend to the entire Local 1944 staff, and a superb and valued advocate for the members he represented. We have lost someone that we not only deeply care for, but also a strong ally in our collective struggle for justice at work. He was fierce supporter of Rachel Notley and the NDP.

If being a Unionist means sacrificing your own needs for those of your brothers and sisters, then Joe was a true Unionist, as I know very well that he has sacrificed a lot for this Union, for you, over his many years of activism. May he rest in power.

In Memory and in Solidarity,

Donna Hokiro
USW Local 1944