Sister Figueira was awarded Life Membership in 1987.
Cathie moved from Halifax to Toronto in 1968 and joined the CRA as a university recruit. Within 3 years she was an Auditor and was persuaded by her team leader to act as a steward for the AU’s. She loved the union work from day one. By 1975 she was the Local president and served in that capacity until 1987, when she was selected for management training under the Affirmative Action program.
During her 12 years as local president, Cathie was active on many fronts. She provided representation on grievances and appeals and when she thought there was a basic principle of natural justice being denied, she had no hesitation in pursuing an issue within the union and in the courts. One case which her local pursued, despite lack of support from the national office, resulted in a win for the appellant. This case required legal representation, which the local had to pay, but at the next PSAC convention Cathie persuaded the delegates that her local should be re-imbursed.
During her presidency, the first national CR strike occurred in 1980. Through the hard work of Cathie and her executive, and despite management’s efforts to the contrary, they managed to keep over 590 CR’s in a solid ring around the building 8 hours a day for 8 days, bringing operations at the CRA and the adjoining post office to a crawl. In the 70’s, her office was one of the first in the department to start union management meetings and these meetings did much to improve the credibility of union members in management’s eyes and provided a less acrimonious forum to discuss issues and new developments. The result was that in the 80’s when the Toronto Tax Office was to be divided into 4 offices, the union was an equal partner with management in developing and administering a set of criteria to decide who would be assigned to each office. Cathie was one of 4 employees who received the first Minister’s Award for her contribution.
Although she was never a national officer, for her contributions both locally and nationally to the union movement, Cathie was made a life member of the UTE in 1987.