Kilmury, Diana (1948—)

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Kilmury, Diana (1948—)

Canadian union activist. Born around 1948; raised in Vancouver, British Columbia; married and divorced; children: three.

Raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Diana Kilmury was a young, divorced mother of three when she went to work for a small trucking firm. She joined Local 213 of the Teamsters Union three years later, the first woman member to work in heavy construction, and, in 1977, came to the aid of Jack Vlahovic, a dissident British Columbian union representative who had been ousted for whistle-blowing on corruption in the union ranks. Kilmury helped Vlahovic raise $40,000 for his legal fund, then joined the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, crisscrossing Canada, urging union members to get rid of mob-controlled officials and demand democratic elections. "These people had pension money stolen, three presidents indicted—it's not like you had to tell anyone the union was corrupt," she said. "We just needed to tell them, 'You have the right to vote.'" For speaking out, Kilmury was the target of heckling and even death threats, but she refused to be intimidated. Her efforts paid off in 1989, when the union rank and file won the right to elect their leadership. Kilmury was subsequently elected a Teamsters vice-president and took office in February 1992, the first woman member of the Teamster General Executive Board. The Teamsters Human Rights Commission that she chairs held the first Teamsters Women's Conference (1994), the first Civil Rights Conference (1995), and has sponsored many regional seminars and events. "This time," she said, "the people with the white hats won." Kilmury's crusade was the subject of the 1996 TNT television movie, "Mother Trucker: The Diana Kilmury Story."


Eftimiades, Maria. "Spotlight On … Diana Kilmury," in People Weekly. October 21, 1996.

related media:

"Mother Trucker: The Diana Kilmury Story" (television docudrama), starring Barbara Williams , script by Anne Wheeler , directed by Sturla Gunnarsson, 1996.