Bob White, one of the founders of the Canadian Auto Workers union, has died at the age of 81.
The union Unifor -- which is an amalgam of the CAW and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada -- announced White’s death on its website today.
“Today we mourn the loss of great union leader Bob White, founder of CAW, a founding Unifor union. We are here thanks to his work and vision,” Unifor said on Twitter. “Bob White redefined what it meant to be a Canadian unionist.”
White became the first president of the CAW after he and assistants Buzz Hargrove and Bob Nickerson successfully managed to break away from the U.S.-based United Auto Workers in 1985.
The CAW eventually merged with the CEP in 2013 to form Unifor, the country’s largest private-sector union.
Unifor national President Jerry Dias said in a in a Twitter post that he was “deeply saddened to hear news of the passing of dear friend.”
Dias called White an “inspirational leader.”
“The CAW was born as a result of his determination and leadership. It is thanks to Bob that we have grown into the strong national union that we are today," Dias said in a statement on Unifor's website. "Bob White's legacy is a stronger and more equitable Canada, and a labour movement that stands up for Canadian workers."