Ken Lewenza's Retirement Announcement

Toronto, ON

August 8, 2013

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CAW and CEP Presidents announce retirement.
August 8, 2013

Toronto, Ontario.
August 8, 2013

Dave Coles
CEP National President

"Bother Lewenza and I are here to address our membership and to address the general public of Canada and Quebec. I will not be seeking the leadership of the new union UNIFOR. I am so proud of the fact the we have been able to, not just Ken and I, but the membership, our leadership team and all of those involved at the local union level to get us to this point in time.
We are going to be making a effective recommendation to our convention, the UNIFOR convention on the unity team. In my personal view it is a dream team, lead by Jerry Dias. So it is a fitting time for the creation of this new union and our team , our new leadership team lead by Jerry will be up for that battle.

If you really are going to build something new and different, then the old war horses have got to step aside. Now that doesn't mean that we are out of the labour movement and I can tell you that both Ken and I have got plans. As long as you have a government like we have now that is so disrespectful to Canadians you haven't seen the end of either one of us."

 Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

"I am obviously announcing that I am not running for the national president of UNIFOR. I ask myself "Do I want to start a job" and recognize that I can't complete the job because this is not a one year, two year project. This is a minimum of three or four years a maximum of six or seven as I understand it. The decision for me to retire was difficult only because of the comradeship, the friendship, the bonds of solidarity, the recognition that we are trying to build something different. This is our footprint for the future. Jerry Dias, Peter Kennedy will lead this particular footprint moving forward, providing we get the endorsement through the democratic process of our constitution. We do not take our membership for granted but both executive boards recognize that to build a strong union, you must have a diverse union. You must have a union that is represented in every province and every jurisdiction in the country. You must have diversity in that particular union. You have to make sure that the voices of those that we represent are represented on the national executive board. I believe that our recommendations have achieved that. We went through this process to be the best union, the strongest union, the most committed union, the most determined union.
We have established a culture of collaboration, of engagement, of regular contact with one another and it is that culture that will guide Jerry as it guided me.

Thank you all very much."

Peter Kennedy
CAW National Secretary Treasurer

"We have been blessed within CAW and UNIFOR will be similarly blessed. We have had the preeminent labour leader of the times leading our union since the days of Dennis McDermott. They were great labour leaders but we have also had a structure in place that, I think, forces the people to be as great as they possibly can be, all of our leaders. That structure will be maintained in UNIFOR."

 Dino Chiodo
CAW Local 444 President

"Ken is going to continue to be an advocate for the union as he's always been. I think it is relevant and good to be able to say that Ken's coming back home because that's where he has always wanted to be. He will always be fighting for working class people because that is what he is all about. His passion, his energy, his heart, it is all about helping people and I am sure that he will continue to do that where ever he goes."

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