Sheila Jordan, 49, president of city employees' union

September 28, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Sheila Jordan, president of a city employees' labor union, died of cancer Saturday at her Catonsville home -- one day after she was elected to a third term in the job.

Mrs. Jordan, 49, was unopposed in the City Union of Baltimore election. She had been president of the union representing about 5,000 municipal workers since 1997.

"I had a great deal of respect for her," Mayor Martin O'Malley said yesterday. "She was a strong advocate for her members and was always decent. She made her points in a pleasant, forthright, straight-up sort of way. She never resorted to personal attacks. It was tough not being able to offer her people the kind of raises they deserved."

"She left a positive impact on everybody who met her," said Delores Powell, her executive assistant.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sheila Bailey moved to Baltimore as a toddler and was raised on Walbrook Avenue. She was a 1970 graduate of Forest Park High School and attended Baltimore City Community College.

She began her city service as a data processing clerk at the old Baltimore City Jail in the 1970s. She used vacation leave in 1987 to begin organizing CUB, which represents workers in a variety of city departments. She was a labor-relations specialist and staff director in the union before being elected president.

Union officials said she accomplished a turnaround in an organization that had been troubled by debt. She was credited with careful fiscal and political management. She also oversaw renovation of a new union headquarters in the 2100 block of N. Howard St. It is expected to open next month.

Survivors include her husband of 11 years, Eric Jordan; two daughters, Keinya Sullivan and LaTanya Sullivan, both of Baltimore; her mother, Cecelia L. Bailey of Baltimore; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 7 o'clock this evening at New Metropolitan Baptist Church at Mosher and McCulloh streets.

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