A colleague of Beverley Jones requested that she be acknowledged during Black History Month because “Beverley is purple strong.” Beverley is the chief steward and a cook with Compass at Runnymede Healthcare Centre in Toronto. She was also the person who spearheaded the campaign to bring SEIU Healthcare to her department.
“In the early 2000s, we were told that we needed to find a new union,” says Beverley. “Many unions were approaching us, but I said, ‘we’re going with SEIU Healthcare.’”
“I wanted SIEU Healthcare because they are a healthcare specific union and because it was clear that they were going to be very supportive,” she says.
Beverley says joining and being a part of SEIU Healthcare has been an “amazing” experience. She has been an active member who has attended numerous training sessions, marches, rallies, women’s conferences, and SEIU Healthcare’s Leadership Academy programs.
“At the last Academy I went to, I learned so much about how to approach management and how to better represent my fellow members,” says Beverley. “I also relay what I learn to my co-workers to help them advocate for themselves.”
She has made strong connections with many SEIU Healthcare sisters and brothers. “One of our sisters created a chat group on social media to keep in touch with each other and we often get together. We have become good friends.”
Following the 2017 Summer Academy, as part of the mission of the women’s group she was in, Beverley led a feminine hygiene product drive at her workplace. She collected donations and funds from her co-workers, who she says were all very supportive of her efforts. Along with SEIU Healthcare staff, she donated the proceeds to a local women’s shelter.
Having been born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada in 1982, Beverley is proud to join in on SEIU Healthcare’s Black History Month celebrations.
“It is important to celebrate diversity and I don’t think there is another union that respects different cultures the way that SEIU Healthcare does,” she says.
In her community, Beverley actively gives to a variety of charities. She donates to Easter Seals, breast cancer research, Covenant House, and others. She also sponsors a child through Plan Canada International. “I care about people and I want to help,” says Beverley.
In her spare time, she loves to cook for her family and friends, especially on holidays, preparing Jamaican dishes and other foods.
During Black History Month 2019, we will be profiling outstanding black SEIU Healthcare members who are making a difference in their workplace and communities. If you have someone you think should be recognized, please send their full name and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.