CAW Withdraws From NDP

April 24, 2006

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CAW Withdraws From NDP
CAW Withdraws From NDP
dated April 24, 2006

Ken Lewenza
CAW Council Chair

       "All those in favour raise your hand. Down. Opposed. Carried by an overwhelming majority. Thank you very much."

Port Elgin, Ontario
April 21, 2006

       With that vote the 600 delegates at the Canadian Auto Workers Council in Port Elgin Ontario, April 21, 2006 embarked on a new political path independent of the New Democratic Party. CAW national president Buzz Hargrove told the Council the NDP's actions in regards to the union's decision to adopt strategic voting in the last election was unacceptable.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "The NEB debated this and they came to the conclusion that this is a clear issue about whether or not the NDP is going to dictate to the union or the union is going to determine its own future. And on that basis they voted unanimously, including the assistants and the area directors and the department heads that were there, to support a resolution that we withdraw; and that we encourage at this council meeting, that we encourage CAW locals, leaders, staff and members to with draw their support for the NDP."

       Hargrove said it is critical that the union remain independent and do what is best for its members.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "No government, no political party should ever be allowed to tell us what the direction of our union is going to be in politics. That will be decided after the debate in this council by the people who were elected by the workers who pay dues to our organization."

       The delegates debated the issue at length prior to the vote, both for and against the withdrawal from the NDP.

Jerry Dias
       "This resolution is based on common sense and the previous speakers have said it and I want to reinforce it. It wasn't Buzz that was kicked out of the NDP it was us. It was our union that was kicked out of the NDP and we bloody well should take it personally because it was our decision to support strategic voting. It was us, us sitting in this room and the broader group that was at the last meeting."

Wayne Gates
CAW Local 199

       "I want to thank the CAW for endorsing me as a candidate. It was extremely important to realize that Wayne Gates couldn't win in Niagara Falls, but my union supported me and for that I thank them but I am opposed to the resolution."
       "What I'd like to see us do is take over the NDP and maybe Buzz you could run as our leader and I think that would correct the problem and people would listen to you."

       The CAW is now developing a new political strategy, which Hargrove said would be voted on at its constitutional convention in Vancouver this summer.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "This will be a political anchor for us as an organization if you like; a fundamental document that lays out our commitment to a progressive, militant, independent, working class politics."
       "We are saying that a union can be a powerful vehicle to express the political hopes and aspirations and the demands of working people and the under privileged, but it must be done authentically, democratically and above all independently. The old days are gone. The days when the union was the arm of the party are gone. The days when our politics are automatically the party's politics are gone."

       Newly elected NDP MP Peggy Nash, former assistant to Buzz Hargrove spoke to the Council following the vote.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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