Dennis McDermott

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Dennis McDermott
Canadian Ambassador to Ireland
In office
Governor General Jeanne Sauvé
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Preceded by Gustav Gad Rezek
Succeeded by Mike Wadsworth
4th President of the Canadian Labour Congress
In office
Preceded by Joe Morris
Succeeded by Shirley Carr
3rd Canadian Director of the United Auto Workers
In office
President Walter Reuther
Leonard Woodcock
Douglas Fraser
Preceded by George Burt
Succeeded by Bob White
Personal details
Born (1922-11-03)November 3, 1922
Portsmouth, England
Died February 13, 2003(2003-02-13) (aged 80)
Peterborough, Ontario
Political party New Democratic Party
Occupation Welder, assembler

Dennis McDermott, OOnt (November 3, 1922 – February 13, 2003) was a Canadian trade unionist, Canadian Director of the United Auto Workers from 1968 to 1978 and president of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1978 to 1986.

Born in Portsmouth, England, McDermott immigrated to Canada in 1948 and settled in Toronto where he worked as an assembler and welder at the Massey-Harris plant.[1] He became a full-time organizer for the United Auto Workers in Canada (UAW) in 1954.[2] He was elected Canadian Director of the UAW in 1968 and became an international vice-president of the union in 1970.

As leader of the Canadian UAW he also became a vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress. He left the UAW in 1978 to become president of the CLC.

McDermott was a social activist and civil liberties advocate and joined the Joint Labour Committee to Combat Racial Intolerance soon after arriving in Canada working with the committee to lobby for the enactment of Ontario's first Human Rights Code. He would later serve on the executive of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.[1] He led the Canadian UAW to support the California grape boycott in the 1960s and 1970s.[3]

As UAW Canadian Director, McDermott led a campaign against wage controls being implemented by the government of Pierre Trudeau in 1975. Under McDermott, the CLC organized a 100,000 person protest against the federal Liberal government's economic policies in 1981.[3]

Following his term as CLC president, McDermott was appointed Canada's ambassador to Ireland in 1986 and served in that position until 1989.

McDermott was strong supporter of the New Democratic Party and organized the CLC to operate a political action program in support of the NDP in the 1979 federal election.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Memorial Service for Dennis McDermott", Canadian Labour Congress, March 5, 2003 (accessed 3 November 2006).
  2. ^ "McDermott, Dennis", The Canadian Encyclopedia (accessed 3 November 2006).
  3. ^ a b "Former CLC president Dennis McDermott dies at 80", National Union of Public and General Employees, 14 February 2003 (accessed 3 November 2006).
Preceded by
Joe Morris
President of the Canadian Labour Congress
Succeeded by
Shirley Carr
Preceded by
George Burt
Canadian Director of the United Auto Workers
Succeeded by
Bob White