Unions Launch Proposal for Largest Private Sector Union in Canada

August 1, 2012, 12:40 PM EST

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The blueprint for the creation of what would be Canada's largest industrial union was released today at a press conference in Toronto. Representatives of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) launched the final report from the joint committee on the creation of a new union.

"In this report, our unions are mapping out the way to a new union that will focus on advancing the interest of all Canadian workers," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "This blueprint has the potential of giving working Canadians the strength they deserve to fight for their basic rights."

The joint committee report highlights the founding principles of the potential new union, as well as a number of new aspects. The new union will:

  •  represent over 300,000 members from across Canada, with a strong presence in every province;
  •  prioritize organizing new members by allocating $50 million over five years to recruiting new members and developing new local unions;
  •  challenge the traditional definition of membership by opening the door to temporary agency, contract and other precarious workers, as well as unemployed workers and students;
  • unite workers in more private sector industries than any Canadian union to this day;
  • mark the single largest coming together of two private sector unions in Canadian history.

"The proposal for a new union was built on principles of democracy, transparency and progress for working people," said Dave Coles, National President of CEP. "This report is the first step towards reaching out beyond traditional workplaces and increasing the political influence of working people in Canada."

The final report to form a new union will be presented to members of both unions at their respective conventions, who will vote on the proposal. The CAW convention will be held in Toronto August 20-24 and the CEP convention will be held in Quebec City October 14-17.

The report, including the sectoral and geographic breakdown of the new union, can be found at: www.newunionproject.ca

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