Patricia Gallagher (née Young) was born in Vanguard, Saskatchewan on November 20, 1939. Her family moved to Moose Jaw, where her father was a member of the United Packing House Workers of America at the Swift Canadian packing plant. In 1959–60 she was a schoolteacher for the Regina Public School Board. Gallagher first became involved with the union movement in 1964, when she was working at the University of Regina; she was elected to the union negotiating committee and was on the union executive and grievance committee. In 1976, Gallagher was hired by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour as the executive assistant. Six years later she became the education officer with the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU); in 1987 she was appointed director of membership services, and became the executive director of operations in 1996. She retired from SGEU on March 31, 2001.
Gallagher was instrumental in protecting SGEU members’ collective bargaining rights when the Progressive Conservative government moved the four technical schools and urban community colleges into the newly created Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST). She successfully argued SGEU’s case for successor rights before the Labour Relations Board. Gallagher was a prominent and progressive defender of the rights and unions of working people. She was an active member of Saskatchewan Working Women, a grassroots feminist group. She served as co-editor for the alternate news magazine, Next Year Country, and, in the early 1970s, was the legislative reporter for The Commonwealth. In retirement, Gallagher serves as a labour representative on the Labour Relations Board.