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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
3 microfilm reels positive.
10 photographs b&w, col.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records concerning William Walsh's career as a labour consultant and arbitrator, his internment and subsequent service in the Canadian Army during the Second World War, the Communist Party of Canada, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, his work with Native organizations, personal and family matters, and other topics. Included are textual records (correspondence, notes, awards, decisions, reports, collective agreements, submissions, minutes, negotiations papers, print matter, and other material) and photographs. Also includes a collection on microfilm of correspondence and other papers of William Walsh, Anne (Weir) Walsh, Esther (Slonimsky) Steele-Walsh, and Dick Steele, 1932-1946. The fonds also contains photographs of Mine-Mill union; Sudbury Local 598; 30th anniversary of the unionization of Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd., 1973; nurses awarded a settlement for wrongful dismissal, 1971; Canadian miners in the Soviet Union as guests of Soviet Coal Miners Union, 1973; William Walsh at an open air strike meeting at the Westinghouse plant, 1946; and Walsh speaking at the Association of Canadian Postmasters meeting.
Microfilm reel M-5445
Microfilm reel M-5447
Microfilm reel M-5446
from M-5445 to M-5447
Photographs: Various copyright and unknown. Credit: Name of photographer / National Archives of Canada / Copy negative no.
Textual records Finding aid MSS1566 (part 1) is a file list of volumes 1 to 47; it also includes a copy of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario finding aid for microfilm reels M-5445 to M-5447. MSS1566 90 (Electronic)
Textual records Finding aid MSS1566 (part 2) is a file list of volumes 48 to 63. At present, only the section listing volumes 48 to 55 is available. It is anticipated that the section listing volumes 56 to 63 will be governed by the same access conditions as the records themselves; these access conditions have yet to be established. MSS1566 90 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
Moishe Wolofsky (later known as William "Bill" Walsh) was born in 1910 in Montreal. His father, Herschel "Harry" Wolofsky, was the publisher of the "Der Keneder Odler", a Yiddish-language newspaper. Moishe Wolofsky attended and graduated from Montreal primary and high schools. Following three years of work and studies in New York, Moishe Wolofsky and a friend, Moishe Kosawatsky (later known as Dick Steele), travelled to Europe and the Soviet Union in 1931. In the USSR, they worked in metal works factories in Minsk and Moscow, and joined the Young Communist League. Wolofsky returned to Canada in 1933, and soon adopted the name William Walsh. He became active in the Friends of the Soviet Union in Montreal, and in union organizations in Montreal and Ontario. In 1935 Walsh became an organizer for the Communist Party of Canada (CPC), and for the remainder of the Depression he worked as Party and union organizer, in which capacity he played an important role in organizing rubber workers in Kitchener and auto workers Windsor. Walsh's political activities led to his arrest in December 1940, and he was subsequently jailed and interned in Guelph and Hull under the Defence of Canada Regulations. Following his release in October 1942 and the death of his first wife Anne (Weir) Walsh in 1943, he joined the Canadian Army and served in Europe with the Essex Scottish Regiment. After the war, Walsh was hired by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) as a staff representative based in Hamilton, Ontario. He was a key organizer during the 1946 strike wave in the major industrial plants in Hamilton, one of the key phases in the Canadian labour movement's post-war campaign for union security and wage increases. Also in 1946, Walsh married Esther Steele, whose first husband Dick Steele had been killed in action during the war. Walsh continued to serve as a UE representative until his resignation in 1965; among his chief responsibilities was servicing the large Westinghouse local in Hamilton. While working for the UE, Walsh remained active in the CPC, serving on the City Council of Hamilton during the 1950s. Walsh resigned from the CPC in 1967, and in the early 1970s he was active in the Labour Caucus of the New Democratic Party's Waffle Movement.
After leaving the UE, Walsh developed a practice as a labour consultant and arbitrator, in which capacity he provided services to unions in several industries, most notably the health care, public, and white-collar sectors. The unions that engaged Walsh's services included the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Letter Carriers Union of Canada, the Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, the Draftsmen's Association of Ontario, the Ontario Nurses' Association, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, and local unions of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and of the Service Employees International Union. Walsh's consulting work included assistance in collective bargaining strategy and negotiations, strike strategy, labour education, and drafting constitutions. Walsh was one of the pioneers of labour arbitration in Canada, and he was the union counsel in the first case reported in "Labour Arbitration Cases" in 1948. Much of Walsh's work as the union appointee to arbitration boards involved public sector workplaces (such as hospitals, nursing homes, nursing, and municipal and provincial employees), although he also worked regularly in cases in private-sector industries.
Because of his experience as a negotiator, Walsh was asked by the Dene Nation and the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada in the 1970s and early 1980s to assist in their negotiations with the Canadian government. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was also active in Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, a peace group composed of ex-military people. More biographical information is available in Cy Gonick's "A Very Red Life: The Story of Bill Walsh" (Canadian Committee on Labour History, 2001).
1. Trade-unions - Canada, 1941-1982 Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act, 1971-1981.
2. Trade-unions - Law and legislation, 1941-1982 Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1973-1982.
3. Political parties - Canada, 1941-1969 Public Service Staff Relations Act, 1978-1981.
4. Canadian Union of Public Employees, 1973-1982.
5. Ontario Liquor Control Board, 1973-1982.
6. Ontario Housing Corporation, 1973-1982.
7. Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 1961-1982.
8. Draftsmen's Association of Ontario, 1941-1969.
9. Communist Party of Canada, 1941-1969.
10. United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, 1941-1965.
11. Dick Steele , 1941-1944.
12. Anne Wier Walsh, 1941-1943.
13. Esther Slonimsky Steele (Walsh), 1941-1945.
14. Moishe Kosowatsky, 1941-1944.
15. Don Jail (Toronto, Ont.), ca. 1940-1942.
16. Defence of Canada Regulations, ca. 1940-1942.
Other system control no.
Related control no.
1. 1985-166 NPC
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