THUNDER BAY – The Canadian Autoworkers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) have agreed to merge. CEP local union leaders and members taking part in the union’s convention this week in Québec City have voted in favour of forming a new union with the CAW. This new union which has yet to be named, will represent more than 300,000 workers in every province of the country, in 22 different major economic sectors.
“With this new union we are sending out a clear message that labour is ready to do what is necessary to take on governments and employers who would like nothing better than to see us disappear,” said Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union National President Dave Coles. “I have no doubt that this bold initiative will bolster the
efforts of labour and other progressive movements across the country,” he said, noting that “with a critical mass in every province, it will be the largest union of its kind in Canada.”
“Our new union will be well-suited to take on today’s challenges, particularly around the growing precariousness of employment,” said CAW President Ken Lewenza. “Workers across the country will soon have a greater opportunity for union representation in their community and existing members will have more bargaining clout when sitting across from their employer at the negotiating table. We will be stronger, more effective and yield greater influence.”
CEP and CAW are two of the largest unions ever to come together in Canada. The joint Proposal Committee, made up of eight local and national leaders from each organization, will soon meet to plan for the upcoming work of the six working groups – Constitutional, Implementation, Staff Relations, Organizing, Communications and Convention Planning. The Proposal Committee was led by CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy and CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard.
A date has not yet been set for the founding convention which will be scheduled for 2013.