Feb 21, 2017
By Andy Johnson
The Canadian labour leader who presided over the Canadian Auto Workers union’s split from its American counterpart and later became that union’s founding president and the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, has died at age 81.
Bob White was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland in 1935 and came to Canada in 1949 with his family, settling in Woodstock, Ontario. He left school at age 15 to start working in the factory where his father worked and joined the United Auto Workers union in 1951.
In 1984, with White at the helm, Canadian UAW members split from their U.S.-based parent union and formed the CAW. White was elected president of CAW in 1985, and re-elected in 1988 and 1991. In 1992, he was elected president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
White became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990.