August 20, 2018
The Ontario Federation of Labour mourns the passing of unionist, community organizer and activist Bromley Lloyd Armstrong. A member of the CAW, Armstrong was a leader in the Toronto Joint Committee on Human Rights in the 1950’s and fought racism his whole life.
“Brother Armstrong’s contribution to anti-discrimination campaigns in Ontario have made our province more inclusive for everyone,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “His contribution to our movement, to our province, and our country has changed lives for the better and laid the path for many anti-discrimination campaigns today.”
In 1948, Armstrong was working at Massey Harris, and decided to take welders training, but when he applied for work his application had been “lost.” The company had never hired a Black welder. He turned to the UAW, which at the time had 4500 members, only 13 of them Black. He was told ‘you are part of this movement,’ sparking his lifelong commitment to labour.
Armstrong’s accomplishments are many. From 1973 to 1997, he published a newspaper called “The Islander,” served on the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and as an adjudicator with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. He successfully lobbied North York Mayor Mel Lastman to create a municipal race relations committee, and was on the Board of Governors for the Canadian Centre for Police Relations. Armstrong was a recipient of the 1994 Order of Canada, and the Order of Ontario.
In 2004, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council established an annual award in Armstrong’s name to commemorate his courage, dedication and outstanding service to the labour and human rights movements in Canada.