Canada’s unions mourn the loss of former CLC president Bob White

"We have lost a formidable leader who truly understood the intersection of social justice and labour rights." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (21 Feb. 2017) — Canada’s unions are mourning the loss of a great and inspirational leader, former Canadian Labour Congress president Bob White, who has died at age 81.

Bob White remembered as tough negotiator, fearless leader

“Bob was a courageous leader who blazed a lot of trails in the labour movement,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.  

He worked tirelessly to keep Canada’s unions strong.

“Bob embraced change and recognized that in order to stay relevant, unions had to adapt and welcome leadership from women, workers of colour and all equity-seeking groups,” said Yussuff.

White became President of the Canadian Auto Workers at its founding convention in 1985, where he served until being elected President of the Canadian Labour Congress in June 1992. He was re-elected in 1994 and retired in 1999.

White fought as for social justice as for labour rights

Through that time he was recognized around the world as a staunch defender of human rights and social justice, and was also an icon in Canada’s anti-apartheid movement.

"We have lost a formidable leader who truly understood the intersection of social justice and labour rights," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "He fought for fairness, and equality, not only for organized labour but for all workers. He made a difference in the lives of workers across Canada and worldwide. Bob will be sorrely missed."

White championed fairness for workers around the world as the first Canadian President of the OECD’s Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) and as chair of the Human and Trade Union Rights Committee of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, now called the International Trade Union Confederation.

"On behalf of the 370,000 NUPGE members, we send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones," said Brown. 


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE