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Memorable Manitobans: Hugh Leonard “Len” Stevens (1922-2001)

Labour leader.

Born at Winnipeg on 25 July 1922, son of Margaret and Hugh Stevens, he attended Cecil Rhodes School before working as a machinist at the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works. After serving overseas during the Second World War, he returned to work at Manitoba Bridge and became active in the union movement.

He joined the CIO drive sweeping Canada in the early 1950s and was instrumental in organizing his home local 4087, the first steelworker local organized in Winnipeg. He was involved in local union activities and became a full-time staff representative for the United Steelworkers of America in 1952. He served on the federal and provincial executives of the CCF and NDP. He served as a school trustee as well as two terms as a Winnipeg city alderman (1958-1959).

He orchestrated the planning, construction and operation of the first Winnipeg Union Centre on Portage Avenue. From 1968 to 1977 he served as President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Labour Congress. In 1976, he became the first Director of the United Steelworkers of America, District 3, consisting of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and the North West Territories. He retired from the position in 1990. In February 1994, he was the first recipient of the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award.

He died at Winnipeg on 21 August 2001.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 2001.

“We will not forget them,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2001, page B3.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 September 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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