Domestic violence shelter opens with help from USW members

The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation has finally opened the doors of its new domestic violence shelter and resource center in Morinville, Alberta, Canada, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and fundraising of USW members.

Since 2016, when Local 1-207 President Ray White learned about the foundation at the National Policy Conference in Edmonton, he and his fellow Steelworkers have been raising funds, building awareness, and securing materials and furniture.

The local’s Women of Steel (WOS) committee also played a pivotal role in getting the shelter off the ground, including Local 1-207 Vice President Ivana Niblett, who was even chosen as one of the keynote speakers at the AFL annual Commemorative Luncheon for the Montreal Massacre, along with Jessica Martel’s mother.

USW District 3 and Local 1944 also raised thousands of dollars for the cause throughout the years, organizing a golf tournament, purchasing tables at the Montreal Massacre luncheon, and more.

“This was truly a team effort,” said White. “I have never been prouder to be a Steelworker.”

Jessie’s House, complete at 9,200 square feet, is the first new emergency shelter to be built in Alberta in 22 years. It is more than a home, however, with the foundation offering court assistance, tutoring, family counseling, and other services. The home also includes a room dedicated to the union for its many contributions called the United Steelworkers Women of Steel Suite.

Click here to watch a video about the story behind Jessie’s House and how it all came together.

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