SEATTLE — Funeral services for Washington State Labor Council Vice President Jacquie Jones-Walsh, a longtime member of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and State President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Greater Glory Ministries, 6419 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. in Seattle. She passed away on April 15 at the age of 70.
“Jackie Jones-Walsh was a pillar of the union women’s community in her role as Washington State President of the Coalition of Labor Women,” said Elise Bryant, Executive Director of the Labor Heritage Foundation. “She will be missed, but the work she did will be carried on by the women she mentored during her many years of service.”
“Jacquie’s unexpected passing is a major loss for the labor movement in Washington state,” said WSLC President Larry Brown. “I’ve known Jacquie for more than 30 years and she’s been a tireless advocate for women’s rights in the workplace, racial justice, and public employees at all levels of government. She and her family are in our thoughts as we celebrate Jacquie’s proud legacy by continuing to fight for the issues she was so passionate about.”
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Here is WFSE story about Jones-Walsh’s passing:
Labor, community honor Jacquie Jones-Walsh
Washington’s social justice and labor communities lost a trailblazing leader this week. The news of Jacquie Jones-Walsh’s passing brought sadness and memories of her groundbreaking activism. Strongly rooted in her community, her identity, and her city, Jones-Walsh leaves an incredible legacy behind.
Jones-Walsh achieved great things for her community. Born in Arkansas, she relocated to Seattle with her family during the civil rights movement, and her passion for justice for African Americans and women remained a guiding force over the course of her life.
Jones-Walsh always knew “how to do, where to go, and who to contact, whenever the Chapter needed to get something done,” said Kevin Allen of her work with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. She was one of the founding members of the Puget Sound Chapter of CBTU, formed in the late 1980s with the late Don Briscoe and Althea Lute out of the Black Caucus of the Washington State Labor Council. Most recently, she served as its Vice President.
A leader and mentor to many, Jones-Walsh’s list of accomplishments is staggering. She was the President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), President of the Seattle BIG (Blacks in Government) Chapter, and served on the Board of Directors of CAMP, or the Central Area Motivation Program. She was one of the founding members of Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition, helping to plan the first MLK Day March in Seattle in 1982. Jones-Walsh was also Second Vice President of the Seattle/King County NAACP.
“Jacquie always made herself available,” said Andrea Vaughn, a mentee. Passionate about women’s rights, Jones-Walsh also served on the Seattle Women’s Commission. Jones-Walsh asked after Vaughn’s kids, involved her in constituency group activities, and brought her into the fold as a young person new to labor.
“She was always telling me to listen, to observe without judgment, to maintain composure, and to look at the big picture before speaking out. Her leadership as another Black woman was something I needed and appreciated.”
Jones-Walsh inspired others with her dedication to unionism. She served several terms as President of WFSE Local 843 and was known as a steward, an activist and a leader in her union. She was a member of the AFSCME Council 28 Executive Board and a delegate to the ASFCME International Convention. She was also a delegate to MLK Labor and a member of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute.
An active Democrat, she was also a founding member of Democrats for Diversity and Inclusion (DDI). She served as Precinct Committee Officer for the 37th Congressional District.
Jones-Walsh was the recipient of the Washington State Labor Council’s 2016 Elsie Schrader Award. At the CBTU National Convention in 2012, she received the Addie L. Wyatt Award.
Jones-Walsh left behind a twin brother, sisters, nephews, nieces, and countless friends. She enjoyed spending time with her family and patronizing community arts, music, and drama. Her passion for politics meant that, according to Vaughn, “she was always doing labor work.”
Jones-Walsh was a three-time cancer survivor. To honor her, donations can be made in her name to Cierra Sisters, an African-American breast cancer survivor and support organization.
Special thanks to Kevin Allen and Andrea Vaughn for their contributions to this story.