Coalition of Labor Union Women Obituary and Tribute
Clara Day: August 29, 1923 - February 1, 2015
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Clara Day (International Brotherhood of Teamsters), a founding member and original officer of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She served initially as Midwest Vice President in 1974, then as a National Vice President (IBT) and in 1988 was elected as Executive Vice President holding that position until 2001 when she became ill and had to relinquish her office. In the September/October 1989 issue of the CLUW NEWS it was reported that she…”is as well known for her tireless community service as she is for her distinguished career in the trade union movement.”
CLUW President Connie Leak commented, “We are proud to call Clara Day our sister and mentor. Her courage, strength and leadership paves the way for a new generation of young women in the labor movement. We cherish her contribution to CLUW and she will forever be in our hearts.”
She was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and was the middle child from a large family with 11 children.
Sister Day worked as an information clerk at Montgomery Ward’s warehouse in 1947 and joined the Warehouse and Mail Order Employees Union Local 743 IBT in 1955 after being instrumental in a successful organizing campaign at Montgomery Ward. She served as Local 743 business agent, Director of Community Services and was elected in 1976 to the Executive Board and served as Trustee and Recording Secretary for more than 20 years. During her tenure she battled both gender and racial discrimination.
She served on many boards and commissions including as commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and as first vice chairwoman of the Illinois Commission on the Status of Women.
She was an outspoken advocate for social justice and civil rights leading a delegation of her union members in the historic March on Washington in the company of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 2008, the Teamsters Union published “Clara Day: A Teamster’s Life” as part of the Teamster History Collection.
The Coalition of Labor Union Women recognizes her at our biennial convention with the Clara Day Award conveyed to that CLUW State President who embodies those character traits and leadership ability that Sister Day demonstrated throughout her life.
Survivors include her daughter Georgia Day-Grant, granddaughter Donna Grant-Dorsey and grandson Eric Grant.
The funeral will take place on Saturday, February 7th with visitation 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM followed by the funeral at 10:00 AM at Leak & Sons Funeral Homes, 18400 S. Pulaski Rd., Country Club Hills, Illinois 60478 (708.206.0860).
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family in care of Sister Day’s daughter:
Georgia Day Grant, 2429 Downing Circle, Gurnee, Illinois 60031