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E tū pays tribute to Helen Kelly

14 October, 2016

MEDIA RELEASE

From E tū National Secretary, Bill Newson:

Our comrade, sister, leader, and founding E tū Life Member Helen Kelly has died.

Helen was a visionary and an inspiration. Her legendary leadership, fierce determination and brilliant ideas will have an everlasting impact on workers in Aotearoa.

There will be many stories shared over the next few days and weeks about Helen, her struggles, her victories, and her spirit.

Her impact was and will continue to be huge. From working tirelessly and intelligently to ensure health and safety was improved in forestry and beyond, to fearlessly taking on some of the most anti-worker employers in the country, Helen’s passion for fairness was gigantic.

All unions will be able to share different memories of how Helen stood with our members. E tū remembers her standing tall with us after the Pike River tragedy. The families of the men whose lives were taken that day are deeply thankful for the love, compassion and support that Helen gave.

We also remember her as an equal pay warrior and a Living Wage champion.

The union movement has lost a leader. Working people have lost a friend. But what Helen built will continue. How she faced and fought her last and greatest campaign will live in our collective union memory forever.

Thank you, Helen, for everything.

As we go marching, marching, we're standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

ENDS


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