CAW Grieves the Passing of Labour and Political Icon Cliff Pilkey
November 21, 2012, 2:30 PM EST
CAW leadership and membership across the country are grieving the passing of former CAW Local 222 President and OFL President Cliff Pilkey on Saturday, November 17, 2012.
Cliff, who was 90 years-old, spent his life advocating on behalf of workers, human rights, women's rights, workplace health and safety and his community of Oshawa, where he served as alderman and deputy mayor, and later as NDP MPP.
Labour and community leaders lamented the loss of drive, determination and leadership that Cliff's death means for progressive causes and the broader labour movement.
"Cliff Pilkey's visionary and determined leadership inspired a better world and his legacy of accomplishments stands tall with the very best labour leadership Canada has ever had," said Ken Lewenza, CAW National President.
Former CAW National President Buzz Hargrove said Cliff was truly an inspiring leader. "Nobody loved the labour movement any more than Cliff Pilkey. He loved the solidarity and camaraderie. He used his incredible sense of humour to bring people together and he always had his feet on the ground and had an eye to what was achievable," Hargrove said.
Bob White, former CAW National President and former CLC President, said Cliff will be missed.
"Cliff was a leader who cared deeply about his union - the UAW/CAW - and Canada's labour movement. He learned about women's commitment to affirmative action, child care and choice and put those issues at the forefront of the OFL's agenda. He won great respect and support from women in the labour movement. Cliff had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh, which endeared him to all. He was a great personal friend to Marilyne and I. He introduced us to one another at the CLC Convention in 1976. We will always hold him dear in our hearts."
Cliff was actively involved in numerous causes. He was Past-President and Founder of the Workers' Health and Safety Centre, a President of the Oshawa and District Labour Council from 1957 to 1967 and a UAW National Representative from 1967 to 1973. Cliff was also UAW Director of the Citizenship and Legislative Department from 1973 to 1976. He was President of the Canadian UAW Council in 1957.
He served on various boards and committees including the Board of Directors of Green Shield Canada, York University and Durham College, and was a founding board member of the Oshawa Senior Citizens' Centre. Cliff was a World War II veteran and a 62-year member of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Cliff was also a recipient of the Order of Ontario and a Recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Visitation will be at the Oshawa Funeral Home, 847 King St. West, on Thursday, November 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The funeral service will be at the Oshawa Funeral Home Chapel, 847 King St. West on Friday, November 23 at 11 a.m.
A reception in Cliff's honour will be held at the CAW Local 222 Union Hall, 1425 Phillip Murray Ave. Oshawa, following interment, at the Thornton Cemetery.