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Christine Greenleaf (Retired UFCW 1445) to Receive Maine AFL-CIO President’s Award

Andy O’Brien
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We are proud to announce that former union leader and retired Maine AFL-CIO staffer Christine Greenleaf will be receiving this year's Maine AFL-CIO President's Award for her years of work helping laid off workers through their most difficult situations, for caring deeply about working class folks and for always fighting for the union. Greenleaf will receive the award at the Awards Banquet at our COPE Convention on Thursday, June 27 in Auburn.

Greenleaf, a longtime rapid response coordinator and office manager at the Maine AFL-CIO, retired last year after 45 years in the labor movement. Her career also included working at one factory after another during the era of deindustrialization in the 1970s through the late 1990s. Workers all over Maine have known Chris as a devoted labor leader and a compassionate advocate for laid off workers.

“From her time as a local union steward, in the textile industry, through her tireless work advocating for other dislocated workers, I’ve known Chris to be a true working class hero. She is an inspiration,” veteran union organizer Mike Cavanaugh, who has known Greenleaf since working for her former union UNITE, told Maine State Labor News in 2023.

When the Carleton Woolen Mill closed in 1998, Greenleaf worked tirelessly to help her members make the transition and apply for unemployment, adult education and job training. She developed a passion for helping workers like herself and soon the Maine AFL-CIO offered her a job as a peer support worker coordinator. She went from helping shoe and textile workers to assisting thousands of papermakers navigate unemployment, health insurance and just getting back on their feet. When Greenleaf announced her retirement, union leaders, advocates and labor officials praised her for helping and supporting workers in crisis.

“You’ve been part of a movement that has won fights on the shop floor and in the halls of the legislature,” wrote Christine Hastedt from Maine Equal Justice, an allied group Chris worked closely with, last year. “But what I’ve admired most about you is the care you have taken to make sure that every unemployed worker gets the benefit of those gains when they need it the most, whether it’s unemployment benefits, health care, job training or simply a roof over their heads and food on the table. The difference you’ve made in their lives is incalculable.”