United Packinghouse Workers (1902-1982)
Born in Toronto, Fred Dowling worked briefly for the CNR before heading to Chicago, where he got a job in a meatpacking plant. Upon his return to his home city, he grew heavily involved in the CCF Youth, becoming labour editor on the party’s newspaper. After helping to organize auto and rubber workers, he was hired by the young CIO in Canada in 1939. Two years later, Fred was assigned to the Packinghouse Organizing Committee. In 1943, he was elected to the first executive of the United Packinghouse Workers and became Canadian director. Fred would hold those positions for thirty years.
Over his time, Fred also got heavily involved in international labour organizations. His long-term commitment to social democracy led him to be active in the founding of the New Democratic Party in 1961, becoming the party’s first labour vice-president. After the merger of his union with the meat cutters and butcher workmen in 1968, Fred remained director of the Canadian section, known as the Canadian Food and Allied Workers.