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Distributed for Athabasca University Press

The Red Baron of IBEW Local 213

Les McDonald, Union Politics, and the 1966 Wildcat Strike at Lenkurt Electric

A ground-breaking study of the firebrand leader of the leftist faction of a construction trade union at a pivotal moment in labor history.

The “Red Baron” from Local 213 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) was Les McDonald, a firebrand Communist activist and the youthful leader of the left faction within the Vancouver electrical workers’ union. His fate would be intertwined with the Lenkurt Electric strike of 1966, a wildcat strike that led to the imprisonment of four trade union leaders. McDonald’s important role in Local 213 and the Lenkurt strike—a watershed moment in Canadian labor history—was, until now, the untold story of the first half of his life. Referencing Local 213’s Minute Books, newspaper articles, collected correspondence, as well as dozens of personal interviews conducted by the author, this book examines the history of IBEW Local 213 in the turbulent years leading up to the Lenkurt strike. In addition to describing these events and their important historical ramifications, Ian McDonald chronicles how his father helped to rebuild a left faction within the local union.

404 pages | 15 color plates, 15 line drawings | 6 x 9

History: General History

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