Organizing Takes Center Stage at the CAW 8th Constitutional Convention

August 15, 2006

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Organizing Takes Center Stage at the CAW 8th Constitutional Convention
Organizing Takes Center Stage at the CAW 8th Constitutional Convention
dated August 15, 2006

       The 8th Canadian Auto Workers Constitutional Convention opened Tuesday August 15th in Vancouver B.C. with a call from national president Buzz Hargrove to all CAW members to mobilize and build the union through organizing the unorganized.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I believe we need unions more today than at anytime in the history of working people. And we need unions like our union, militant and willing to push the envelope and win and fight to win a fair share of the pie."

       One of the key issues for the convention delegates was the organizing paper presented by CAW Organizing Director John Aman who outlined the decline in percentage of unionized workers in Canada and the nine principles the union is proposing to turn the tide.

John Aman
CAW Dir. Organizing

       "I don't think there are any magic bullets but we have to be open to new ideas and we have to think outside the box and the more people we can draw into our discussions the more experiences we can draw from. "

       The delegates including Ken Lewenza, Local 444 , Donna Robertson of Local 1285 and Bob VanCleef of Local 707 spoke in favour of the organizing policy proposals.

Ken Lewenza
N.E.B Chairperson

       "This union must stay united in growth, united in strength, united in prosperity and the only way that we can have this happen is if all of us accept the responsibility to grow this union."

Donna Robertson
Local 1285

       "I stand in support of this document and I have got to say too as well that if we don't organize, not only is it the future of our union, it is the future of our youth."

Bob VanCleef
Local 707

       "Hopefully we pass this today and engrained in our constitution will be the responsibility of each and every representative to go out and organize. I think it is the best gift we can giveback. I think it is not only a gift, it is a right and a duty that we owe to the people in the community to get them involved in the CAW."

       During his address to the convention Hargrove criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for refusing to take part in the HIV/AIDS conference in Toronto, his handling of the mid-east crisis and other foreign policy actions including Afghanistan.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "I believe this convention ought to go on record in condemning the Harper government for its decision to continue to put our young men and women's lives at risk by extending their stay in Afghanistan."
       "The best way to support our troops is to ensure we keep the heat on the opposition parties and the government to return our young Canadians to their homes and loved ones within Canada and not in a far away land at war."

       On the home front Hargrove told the delegates it was critical that the union is mobilizing to protect its members from the right wing agenda of the Harper government.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "At a time that General Motors and Ford still continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, continue to lose market share to imports, imports from Asia where those countries close their border and refuse to allow us to ship into their countries."
       "We've been asking the Prime Minter for a meeting to talk about that and he is still refusing to meet with the leadership of our union. So we want to send a message to him today, or this week, from this convention that you will either meet with the leadership of our union or we'll take a few thousand auto workers to Ottawa to greet you when the Parliament opens as well."

       The delegates will debate and vote on a wide agenda of issues over the next three days from organizing to politics as well as elect its national officers on Thursday.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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