Galvanizing the Labour Movement - CAW/CEP New Union Project

April 13, 2012, 2:25 PM EST

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More than 600 CAW Council delegates unanimously endorsed a recommendation expressing support for continued discussions aimed at moving the CAW/CEP New Union Project forward.

Delegates went to the microphones April 13 expressing the importance of promoting the New Union Project, which if approved will bring together more than 300,000 CAW and CEP members into a new, broad based and vibrant union.

Former CAW President Buzz Hargrove said the new union would not only inspire change across the Canadian labour movement it could also, through its example, reinvigorate the American labour movement.

"This is one of the most exciting opportunities for our two unions and the broader labour movement," Hargrove said. He stressed the importance of labour and the progressive movement not accepting the status quo.

"You can't sit still. You've constantly got to be challenging and moving ahead," Hargrove said.

CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaetan Menard, who is attending CAW Council along with other CEP leadership, said it's an exciting project, aimed at building a new union with strong connections into all the communities where it represents members.

This new union will not only work hard to defend it members interests, but also fight corporate greed and the right wing governments that constantly challenge workers rights, Menard said.

"We are in the process of developing the machine that will defeat Harper," Menard said to a huge round of applause.

CAW Local 199 President Wayne Gates said he strongly supports the new union project that will lead to the creation of a stronger and new Canadian union.

He and other delegates congratulated the leadership of CEP and CAW for their courage and vision in pushing ahead with the project, which will be critical to building a more progressive Canada in the years ahead.

"Let's make sure our children and grand children have a future right here in Canada," Gates said.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the discussions between CEP and CAW and all the work being done by the New Union Process Committee amount to an important opportunity to define a brighter future for workers, their families and countless Canadian communities.

He said the new union will represent 300,000 members from its onset with members in all regions of the country and all sectors of the economy. Lewenza said it's not about CAW or CEP alone, but is really about creating greater union density and creating a more vibrant movement.

CAW National Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy provided a detailed analysis of both the challenges and the opportunities which the New Union Project presents. He also outlined the work of the Process Committee, made up of representatives of both unions, which are preparing proposals to be brought forward to the conventions of each union later this year.

Kennedy reminded delegates that the newly created union will be a vibrant, progressive and democratic union and will attract attention from other Canadian unions interested in also joining. He suggested it could ultimately result in a new Canadian union with more than 500,000 members.
To learn more about the CAW/CEP New Union project please visit

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