Dennis McDermott

Dennis McDermott, trade unionist (born 3 November 1922 in Portsmouth, England; died 13 February 2003 in Peterborough, Ontario). McDermott came to Canada after WWII and in 1948 worked in Toronto as an assembler and a welder. In 1954 he became an organizer for the United Automobile Workers (UAW).

McDermott, Dennis

Dennis McDermott, trade unionist (born 3 November 1922 in Portsmouth, England; died 13 February 2003 in Peterborough, Ontario). McDermott came to Canada after WWII and in 1948 worked in Toronto as an assembler and a welder. In 1954 he became an organizer for the United Automobile Workers (UAW). Known as a social activist, he supported the United Farm Workers' campaigns in Canada on behalf of the California grape workers, and has participated in the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. In 1968 he was elected UAW director for Canada and in 1970 international vice-president.

He also became a general vice-president of the CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS, and in 1978 succeeded Joe MORRIS as president. In that job, he opposed wage controls or any infringement of collective bargaining for public or private sector employees, and chided the government about the high level of unemployment and the state of the economy. He applauded the decision by the Canadian section of the UAW to separate from its American parent union, out of which the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) was formed, and he encouraged CLC affiliates to oppose concessions to managements in COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, which was an issue of conflict within the auto workers' unions. Under McDermott's leadership, the CLC steadfastly fought for human rights, supported the state of Israel and trade union movements struggling against repression in many countries. Always political, McDermott also served on the executives of the NDP in Ontario and federally. In 1986 he was appointed Canada's ambassador to Ireland by the Mulroney government, a position he held for three years before resigning and returning to Canada. He was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1988 and received the Ontario Federation of Labour Human Rights Award in 1994.