Cold Warrior: CS Jackson and the United Electrical Workers


274 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-9695835-7-5
DDC 331.88'1213'092




Reviewed by Terry A. Crowley

Terry A. Crowley is a professor of history at the University of Guelph,
and the author of Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality.


In 1992, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers merged with
the Canadian Auto Workers. C.S. Jackson, who headed the United
Electrical Workers for nearly four decades, is the subject of this
life-and-times biography. Jackson comes across as arrogant, demanding,
and volatile. A notorious womanizer who passed through three marriages
and a common-law relationship, he showed almost no interest in the
children he repeatedly fathered.

Author Doug Smith focuses on the period between 1930 and 1950, with the
introduction of the American C.I.O. unions into Canada, the travails of
the World War II (during which the Communist Party was outlawed and
Jackson temporarily interned), and the antagonisms generated by the Cold
War constituting the bulk of the book. At times the reader is
overwhelmed by the minutiae of union politics, the twists and turns of
Canadian Communist policy, and the details of various battles with an
emerging Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. This biography is likely
to remain the fullest account of the United Electrical Workers, because
the union has turned out to be less important than it once seemed.


Smith, Douglas., “Cold Warrior: CS Jackson and the United Electrical Workers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,