·  Media release

Steelworkers Mourn Passing of a Great Labour Activist, Guy Farrell

MONTREAL – The United Steelworkers (USW) family in Canada and the U.S. is mourning the passing of Guy Farrell, a prominent Quebec labour and social activist.

Farrell, assistant to the USW's Quebec Director, died Thursday night surrounded by loved ones at the Source Bleue palliative care centre in Boucherville, Que. He was 58.

An imposing figure with a booming voice and heart of gold, the irrepressible Farrell made his mark in the labour movement over four decades of courageous and combative activism.

Throughout his career he demonstrated genuine interest and concern for the issues facing working people and was always prepared to help those he met, said Daniel Roy, the USW's Quebec Director.

"We've lost a great labour activist and above all, a man with a big heart," Roy said. "I had the privilege of working side-by-side with Guy for 15 years and I learned to appreciate him so much. He was a kind-hearted force of nature. He loved his union and was very close to the members, always ready to fight tooth and nail to defend them."

A Montreal native with Irish roots, Farrell began working full-time at 17, as a welder at a Dominion Bridge plant in 1974. He soon became active in his union and earned growing support as an activist and leader, becoming president of Steelworkers Local 2843 in 1990, later leading a spirited battle to save the plant in 1998. He left the shop floor in 2001 to become a USW staff representative and was hired as assistant to the Steelworkers Quebec Director in 2007.

"We have lost one of the strongest, most principled unionists I have had the good fortune to know and work with. Guy never backed down, never gave up, which is why losing him is such a shock. His steadfast friendship will not be forgotten. Guy, we will miss you dearly," said Ken Neumann, the USW's National Director for Canada.

"Guy was unbridled in his passion for workers and for fighting for what's right. A fierce negotiator and campaigner, he gave his life to the labour movement. We send our love and condolences to Julie and his family. Guy will continue to inspire us for years to come. He is gone too soon," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

In one of his final public appearances last November, a terminally ill Farrell delivered an emotional address to grassroots Steelworkers activists from across Quebec gathered for their annual convention.

"As union activists, the work we do has a real impact on the lives of working people," he said. "So we can never give up. That's my final message to you - never stop fighting!"

Farrell is survived by his wife Julie and sons Francis and Kevin. A memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the Centre multifonctionnel de Boucherville.

Guy Farrell Memorial Service

Saturday, 7 February, 1:30 p.m.
Centre multifonctionnel of Boucherville, Polyvalente Room
1075 Lionel-Daunais Street, Boucherville, QC

Donations in Farrell's memory can be made to Fondation Source Bleue, at www.maisonsourcebleue.ca/fondation/faire-un-don.php

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Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca
Clairandrée Cauchy, USW Communicaitons, Quebec, 514-774-4001,  ccauchy@metallos.ca

Memorial for Guy Farrell - invitation

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