Robert Desfonds: 1996-1999
Brother Desfonds began working at the Dorval Airport as a maintenance tinsmith in 1976. He quickly became active in the UCTE Local 10107. In 1977 he became a steward and, in 1982, was elected local president. At the 1987 convention, he was elected Regional Vice-President for Québec. In 1990, at the Vancouver Convention, he was elected full-time RVP for the province. He was elected President at the 10th Triennial Convention held in Toronto in 1996. His term was focused on the troubled financial situation the component was in. The national office returned to the PSAC headquarters building, and the contingency fund was rebuilt from $300,000 to $2 million. During these years, he had to deal with the policy of airport privatization. Some 4,000 jobs were transferred out of Transport Canada. In 1995 the Canadian Coast Guard was moved to the Department of the Environment, and the canal members to Parks Canada. The component fought to keep these workers as UCTE members to ensure their protection. The quest for justice on behalf of Canadian workers was always at the heart of Brother Robert Desfonds activism.