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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Joanne Marie Whited, courtesy of H. Soulliere
  Joanne Marie Whited attended Mercer Street and F.W. Begley public schools. She also attended Patterson Collegiate and completed a two year secretarial course at Bulmer Business College. She then set out to begin her career as a secretary.

Joanne was the first black person to work as a secretary at the International Union of the United Auto Workers office in Canada. She was hired by the regional director of the

Joanne Marie Whited, courtesy of H. Soulliere
  U.A.W. on the day President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
was shot. Three months later she was told by the regional director who had hired her that he made a mistake and she was fired.

At arbitration David Lewis stated her case was the most blatant case of discrimination he had ever witnessed. He instructed Jess Ferrazza, the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary General of the U.A.W. to find Whited a job in Detroit. Ms. Whited began working at the Solidarity Tower U.A.W. in Detroit in June of 1964. She was a long time member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 494. Joanne Marie Whited retired on June 1st, 2004 with forty years and six months seniority.

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