The People's Summit Marquee Series Presents:
Bob White
President of the Canadian Labour Congress

Monday, June 12, 1995

8 p.m.
Saint Mary's University
Burke Education Building


Bob White was elected President of the Canadian Labour Congress in June 1992 and re-elected in 1994. His involvement with the labour movement began when he went to work at the age of 15 in Woodstock, Ont., and by the time one year had passed he'd participated in his first strike. Today, as President of the CLC, he is the chief spokesperson for 2.2 million working Canadians.
White's journey though the movement and the workforce has put him on the picket lines and at parliamentary committees. He was the central figure of the crtically acclaimed National Film Board production Final Offer and has published his autobiography Hard Bar-gains: My Life on the Line.
White got his start in union politics and organizing with the United Auto Workers (UAW). By 1959 he was president of UAW Local 636 and in 1960 was appointed UAW international representative and assigned to organizing duties in Canada. In 1972 he became administrative assistant to the UAW director of Canada.
In 1984 he was at the centre of one of the most dramatic movements in Canadian labour history when UAW was restructured and the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) emerged to reshape the Canadian labour landscape. The founding convention for the new union took place in 1985 and White was acclaimed the first CAW-CANADA president, serving three terms.
He has spoken out in Canada and around the world for human rights and led innovative bargaining for indexed pensions and many other issues. White became a household word during the debates around the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, as one of the most outspoken opponents of the deal. He has been a lifelong member of the New Democratic Party of Canada and participates actively on the broader political stage.
He was the first major leader in Canada to speak out against cruise missile testing. In Munich, Germany, he put the case before Chancellor Helmut Kohl to put a dramatic rise in OECD-country unemployment on the G7 Summit agenda. As a strong advocate for dialogue between workers and their representatives, White has taken his ideas around the world.