May Martin

May Martin came to Eastern Canada from Cape Town, South Africa. She left school at the end of grade 9 and worked as a grocery clerk, hotel worker, and waitress. She spent some time in the United States before returning to Canada, living briefly in Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, and Windsor. She married Mr. Ansell and, in 1941, they drove west to Vancouver searching for work. May returned to waitressing and joined the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (HREU). In 1942, she worked as an HREU organizer in the Yukon. On her return to Vancouver, she was elected to the rank of Business Agent and, by 1947, was Secretary of the local. In addition to fighting post-war firings of women workers, she advocated for  housewives rights. By 1947, she had married Philip Leniczik, a City labourer. That year May Leniczek and two other executives were ousted from HREU following a dispute with the International. By 1951 she had divorced Leniczek and married a third time, to Mr. Martin.

Audio Interview  [1979]

Description

Martin describes working conditions in the restaurant industry; organizing for the HREU in the Yukon; the take over of Vancouver leadership by the International .

Transcription

Full transcription: Martin, May

Title: [May Martin – 1/4]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1979

Type: Audio recording

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 audio cassette

Format: audio/mp3

Language: English

Identifier: OBJ_644_sideA_01

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: Simon Fraser University Archives. Sara Diamond fonds

Rights: Media provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use of this media must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Title: [May Martin – 2/4]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1979

Type: Audio recording

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 audio cassette

Format: audio/mp3

Language: English

Identifier: OBJ_644_sideB_01

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: Simon Fraser University Archives. Sara Diamond fonds

Rights: Media provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use of this media must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Title: [May Martin – 3/4]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1979

Type: Audio recording

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 audio cassette

Format: audio/mp3

Language: English

Identifier: OBJ_645_sideA_01

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: Simon Fraser University Archives. Sara Diamond fonds

Rights: Media provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use of this media must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Title: [May Martin – 4/4]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1979

Type: Audio recording

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 audio cassette

Format: audio/mp3

Language: English

Identifier: OBJ_645_sideB_01

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: Simon Fraser University Archives. Sara Diamond fonds

Rights: Media provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use of this media must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Video Interview 1987

Description: May Martin discusses her life in Quebec and Ontario prior to moving to British Columbia in 1942. She also talks about her daily duties as a hotel waitress, including her wages and hours. She discusses joining the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, why she supported trade unions, the treatment of workers in restaurants, sexual harassment in the workplace, and the role of shop steward.

Title: [May Martin – 1/5]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May.

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1987-09-17

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_357

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: May Martin discusses her election to business agent of the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union, methods for organizing restaurants, the role of business agent, and the push to procure transportation home after night shifts (The Night Order).

Title: [May Martin – 2/5]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1987-09-17

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_358

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: May Martin continues discussion of The Night Order. She also discusses organizing, and living/working conditions in the Yukon. She discusses experiences of waitresses with sex work and sexual harassment, and the changing image of waitressing as a profession. Finally, she discusses contract demands, bartenders’ attitudes towards waitresses, and begins discussing the Milwaukee Convention.

Title: [May Martin – 3/5]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May.

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1987-09-17

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_359

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: May Martin discusses the Milwaukee Convention, the struggle for leadership of the union, and her expulsion from the union.

Title: [May Martin – 4/5]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1987-09-17

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_360

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Description: May Martin discusses her takeover of the union office with Emily Nuttall, her opposition towards the International, and her expulsion from the union. She also discusses turnover in the industry and the position of women in the union.

Title: [May Martin – 5/5]

Creator: Diamond, Sara

Contributor: Martin, May

Subject: Women–Employment–British Columbia ; Women labor union members–British Columbia ; Women–Employment–British Columbia–History–20th century

Date Created: 1987-09-17

Type: Moving Image

Genre: Interviews

Extent: 1 3/4 inch videotape: U-matic

Format: video/mp4

Language: English

Identifier: SD_WLHP_361

Is Part Of: Sara Diamond fonds

Series: Women’s Labour History Project

Source: Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.

Rights: Videos provided for research and reference use only. Permission to publish, copy or otherwise use these videos must be obtained from the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives.

Photographs

Documents

A sampling of documents given to Sara Diamond by May Martin related to the lock out of the Executive of Local 28 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union by the International in 1947.  This collection of papers is significant but cannot be made accessible online for copyright and privacy reasons. To view, contact the Archivist at library@vivomediaarts.com