Williams, Lynn

Lynn Williams, union leader (b at Springfield, Ont, 21 July 1924). A minister's son, he received a degree in economics from McMaster University and served in the Canadian Navy during WWII. In 1947 he took a job at a Toronto plant and joined the USWA. His first union job was as an organizer with the CANADIAN CONGRESS OF LABOUR, and in 1956 he joined the staff of the USWA in the Niagara Peninsula area. Under his leadership, USWA doubled its membership in the area. During the 1960s, Williams became involved in bargaining, labour education and politics. He was director of the 130 000-member District 6 based in Toronto (then second largest in the union) 1973-77, when he was elected international secretary. He was elected temporary acting president of the USWA on 17 November 1983, and following a bitterly fought election was sworn in as fifth president of the union 1 March 1986, thus becoming the first Canadian ever to head the United Steelworkers of America and one of the few non-US citizens to lead a major US union.