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UAW director Robert White on negotiating a separate agreement for Canadian union members

The Story

Canadian auto workers have ended their 13-day strike against General Motors, having come to a “made-in-Canada” agreement.  UAW Canadian director Bob White is in the Journal studio to talk about the negotiation process which saw the Canadian workers rejecting the settlement their U.S. counterparts had accepted and negotiating their own.  He talks to host Barbara Frum about the negotiation progress, how he came to be director of the Canadian arm of the United Auto Workers, and what the future holds, for unions and for himself.

Broadcast Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Host: Barbara Frum
Guest: Robert White
Broadcast Date: Oct. 30, 1984
Duration: 12:29

Did You know?

• Robert (Bob) White was born in Northern Ireland Apr. 28, 1935.  According to his autobiography, his family came to Canada in 1949, settling near and later in, Woodstock.  He left school at 15, and got work at a wood-working plant, Hay &Co.  The UAW represented workers there, and White joined in February of 1951.  He died in Kincardine, Ont. on Feb. 19, 2017.

• In 1982, led by White, the Canadian UAW broke ranks from the U.S. arm and negotiated a better settlement for the Canadian members.  That story is told here.

• White wrote an autobiography, called Hard Bargains My Life on the Line, in 1987, with the help of June Callwood.  

• In December of 1984 the Canadian membership of the UAW broke away from the parent union and formed the Canadian Auto Workers.  The founding convention for the UAW-TUA took place in Toronto the following September.



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