Bill Howes grew up in Toronto and Sudbury, and began working at Northern Electric (later Northern Telecom) at age 19 in the early 1960s.  He began his union activism there, in the United Auto Workers.  

In the early 1970s he was an organizer with the Canadian Labour Congress’s campaign to sign up white-collar workers.  He then went on staff of the Communications Workers of Canada, organizing telephone workers, including at Bell Canada.  

From 1989 to 2000, he was executive assistant to the president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, organizing actions and events, including the Days of Action against the Harris government.  

Interviewed by Andy King and Lorne Slotnick 

Interview #1: January 10th, 2023

Bill Howes describes his early involvement with the United Auto Workers at Northern Electric, as well as his organizing efforts with white-collar workers at insurance companies and other offices.  

Later, he helped bring thousands of telecom workers into the Communications Workers of Canada.  Also covered in the interview is some of his work at the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.

Interview #2: January 30th, 2023

Bill Howes takes us through his career in the labour movement, with particular emphasis on the organizing of the Days of Action against the Harris government.

Oral History ProjectBill Howes
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