Brother Fred Upshaw, a tireless advocate for working people has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Fred passed away peacefully at home on March 1 at the age of 81.
Fred joined the Board of Directors for the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) in 1992, and was a Member up until his death, serving in recent years on the finance and executive committees.
A gifted and inspiring orator, Fred was a trained psychiatric nurse, rising through the ranks of his union as a steward and eventually local president.
He held various executive positions before serving as president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union from 1990 to 1995, the first African-Canadian to lead a major labour union in Canada. In 2013, Fred received the Bromley L. Armstrong Award, established by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council to celebrate the life and achievements of Bromley Armstrong, a pioneer labour and human rights activist.
As OPSEU president, Fred strongly defended newly won Bill 208 amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act
which provided new worker rights and critical training for joint health and safety committees.
Always keeping busy and connected, Fred still served workers as head of OPSEU’s Retired Members Division for Region 3.
Fred leaves his wife Rose-Marie, children Charlotte, Fred Jr, John, Ken and Terri-Lynn, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A funeral service for Fred Upshaw will be held at Oshawa Funeral Home
on Monday, March 6, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Oshawa Funeral Home is located at 847 King St. W., Oshawa (905-721-1234). For more details and directions, visit the Funeral home web site.
Visitation is Sunday, March 5, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Read OPSEU's tribute to Fred Upshaw