CAW Holds Atlantic Region Leadership Meeting
October 20, 2011, 2:00 PM EST
CAW local union leadership from the four Atlantic Provinces participated in an open discussion and strategy session with National President Ken Lewenza at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 13.
Lewenza spoke to the participants about the union's recent successes in the East Coast across many sectors, including ongoing gains for health care workers and new work for members in the shipbuilding sector. However, Lewenza also warned against mounting challenges facing workers, specifically with respect to the Harper government's attack on collective bargaining rights at Air Canada and Canada Post.
"After our experiences in bargaining so far this year, no Canadian worker should be fooled into thinking the Harper government has their best interests at heart," Lewenza said. "Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt should have her title changed to the Minister of Corporations," Lewenza remarked, highlighting the irony of the Harper government's reluctance to intervene in U.S. Steel's decision to lock-out workers in Hamilton while taking steps only hours after a strike commenced at Air Canada, to try and force employees back to work.
Lewenza also acknowledged the tireless work of activists - across all sectors of the Eastern Canadian economy - to advocate on behalf of working people and encouraged leadership in the room to consider new and innovative ways of building the union for the future.
In a presentation that recapped results of the federal election and various provincial elections held this year (including Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island), Jenny Ahn, CAW National Director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action, impressed upon participants the importance of ongoing membership engagement in politics in order to further a social and economic agenda that supports workers, first and foremost.
The session, which included over 80 elected union representatives and staff from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and organized by CAW Atlantic Region Director Les Holloway, was the largest gathering of its kind for the union.