Greene, Lily (Steinman)

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Greene, Lily (Steinman)

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Lily (Steinman) Greene was born in 1916 in Toronto. In 1932, at the age of 16, she graduated as a stenographer from the Toronto Central High School of Commerce. After graduation, Greene began work in the needle trade. This period marked the beginning of her labour and social justice activism. As a dress-maker, she served on the organizing committee for her section of the Industrial Union of Needle Trades Workers. She also joined the Central Division of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1938 and worked in the head office of the Worker’s Unity League and Worker’s Educational Association during that time. As part of these activities she began an ongoing correspondence with the British Columbian socialist and labour organizer Tom McEwen which continued well into the 1970s.

After the war she continued her work as a labour organizer, moving to a full-time position in the head office of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Worker’s Union. In 1967, a merger of steel industry unions took place and together they formed the United Steelworkers. Greene was assigned to the Toronto office of the merged union and worked there until her retirement in 1982 at the age of 65.

Greene was also highly active in the movement against the Vietnam War during the 1960s and early 1970s. She was a charter member of the Voice of Women (now known as the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace), acted as the Convenor of the Ontario Voice of Women Knitting Project for Vietnamese Children and served as the Ontario Representative of the Canadian Aid for Vietnamese Civilians organization.

Lily married Samuel Greene in 1938. After Samuel died at the age of 59, Greene lived common-law with Ray L. Stevenson until he passed away at the age of 84.


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