On January 21 Unifor members and leaders took part in the Walk for Alzheimer’s in St. Catherines, Ontario, dedicating it to Bob White, the first President of the Canadian Auto Workers who passed away early last year after battling the disease. This was one of a handful of events that took place this month, with a number of Unifor locals honouring White’s memory and his significant contributions to the labour movement.
“What you saw was what you got with Bob White,” said Peter Scott, Recording Secretary of Unifor Local 199 and organizer of the Unifor team. “He was as tough as nails when he had to be but he was a genuine individual and who was an inspiration for an entire generation of labour activists. His courage made you want to do more.”
Six Unifor locals, 199, 5555, 636, 504, 88, and 1859, hailing from St. Catharines, Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Woodstock, and Hamilton, as well as Unifor staff participated in Walks. So far the team has sold more than 400 Team Bob White t-shirts and raised over $14,000, with all proceeds being donated to the Alzheimer Society in White’s name.
“They saw him as a worker and a colleague,” said Scott. “He wasn’t someone you just saw with other political leaders. He remembered your name and he would help out.”
Today’s Walk participants filled the halls of Brock University with over 200 people, dozens of whom wore the red Team Bob White t-shirts. Along with Unifor members and staff the event was attended by Wayne Gates, Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Niagara Falls, and former Member of Parliament for the riding of Welland, Malcolm Allen.