Nova Scotia

From the archives: Remembering Cape Breton labour leader Winston Ruck

Cape Breton trade unionist Winston Ruck fought for steelworkers for 32 years and was the first Black person to become president of Local 1064 of the Steelworker’s Union.

He was the first Black person to become president of Local 1064 of the Steelworker’s Union

Winston Ruck was a trade union stalwart for steelworkers in Cape Breton until his retirement in 1988. (CBC Archives)

Winston Ruck was active in the trade union movement in Cape Breton for 32 years.

He became the first Black person to be elected president of Local 1064 of the Steelworker's Union in 1970. He would later become Area 5 representative of the United Steelworkers of America.

He retired in 1988, disillusioned with the state of the steel industry in North America. Following his retirement he provided guidance to the Black United Front in its work for African Nova Scotians.

Ruck died in 1992 at the age of 69. This video obituary by George Garland aired on Aug. 17, 1992.

The report contains still images of Ruck and interviews with Rev. Vincent Waterman of the African Orthodox Church and fellow unionist John Callaghan. 

This content is being presented as it was originally created and may contain references or representations of people and cultures that audiences may find offensive or triggering.

Video obituary for Winston Ruck

CBC News Nova Scotia

2 months ago

For suggestions on content to feature in CBC's online collection of African Nova Scotia archival material, please email

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.