Madeleine Parent, labour organizer (b at Montréal June 1918). Despite her conventional upbringing in a middle-class Canadian family, Parent dedicated herself to organizing the ununionized. In 1943, she joined Kent ROWLEY
, who she later married, as an organizer for the United Textile Workers of America. In 1946, 6000 workers they had organized in Montréal and Valleyfield (now Salaberry-de-Valleyfield) won a strike against the combined forces of the employer, Dominion Textile, the church and the state. A year later, after a 3-month trial, Parent was convicted of seditious conspiracy. In DUPLESSIS'S
Québec, she had to wait until 1954 for her acquittal in a new trial. Fired by the international headquarters of the UTWA in 1952 on the false charge that she was a communist, she, with Rowley, established the Canadian Textile and Chemical Union (1952) and the Confederation of Canadian Unions (1969). She led some bitter strikes in the 1970s, including the 1979 Purtex strike over surveillance of workers via closed-circuit TV.
MARGARET E. MCCALLUM
Links to Other Sites
Changing Women, Changing History: Canadian Women
This Library and Archives Canada site features biographies of women activists who have made substantial contributions to the lives of all Canadian women. Also offers teaching guides and reference sources.