Leo Gerard awarded 2019 Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize by Broadbent Institute


Leo Gerard awarded 2019 Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize by Broadbent Institute

Toronto – The Broadbent Institute is pleased to announce that it has awarded the 2019 Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize to renowned trade union leader Leo W. Gerard.

The Wood Prize – awarded annually by the Broadbent Institute’s Board of Directors to recognize the outstanding contributions of an academic, labour activist or writer – honours Ellen Wood’s legacy, bringing her work to new generations of Canadians. The Prize includes a $10,000 cash award, and requires the Prize winner to deliver the Ellen Meiksins Wood Lecture. Previous recipients have included UK author and activist Paul Mason and US writer Barbara Ehrenreich.

Ellen Meiksins Wood was an internationally renowned scholar, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and author of eight books published in a dozen languages. One of the most influential political theorists of her generation, Ellen was also passionately committed to making progress in the here and now. For her, in the deepest sense, democracy means “nothing more nor less than people’s power, or even the power of the common people or the poor.” Ellen passed away in January of 2016.

Leo Gerard’s many outstanding contributions to social and economic justice, and decades of service to the progressive movement, make him an outstanding recipient for the Wood Prize.

One of the most influential labour advocates in modern history, Leo’s career as a strong voice for working people began on the shop floor of the Inco nickel smelter in Sudbury and recently concluded with his retirement as the long-time International President of the United Steelworkers, the largest private sector union in North America. He also held a number of significant positions in the international labour movement including Vice President of the AFL-CIO and as Co-Founder of Workers Uniting – The Global Union.

Leo says: “It’s an honour to receive this prize from the Broadbent Institute and to deliver this lecture in memory of Ellen Meiksins Wood.   Ellen’s focus on the power of working people is what progressive politics needs at the moment.  At a time when more people – particularly young people – are disenchanted with the current economic and political system, we need to rebuild our movement muscles.  We need to re-connect working people with their democracies.”

USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann notes: “I cannot think of a better person to receive this award. Leo has been a lifelong advocate for all workers in Canada, the U.S. and indeed around the World. Leo, like Ed Broadbent , is a champion for social democracy and economic equality,  the two principles that lie at the heart of the close relationship between the Institute and the USW.”

Institute Chair and Founder, Ed Broadbent says: “The Institute could not be prouder to award this Prize to Leo Gerard, a tireless advocate for all Canadians and a visionary leader in the international labour movement. Throughout our careers fighting for a more just society, we often spoke at the same rallies and Leo never tired of making a passionate and compelling case for a more equal, social democratic Canada.”

Leo Gerard will deliver the annual Ellen Meiksins Wood lecture in Toronto in early 2020.

For more information on Ellen Meiksins Wood Prize and Lecture and recipient Leo Gerard, please visit: www.broadbentinstitute.ca/the_ellen_meiksins_wood_prize_lecture.


For more information, please contact:

Riley Peterson, Communications Assistant
Broadbent Institute
C: 647-984-7059, E: [email protected]