CAW 20th Anniversary Celebrated

Toronto, Ontario

July 13, 2005

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CAW 20th Anniversary Celebrated
CAW 20th Anniversary Celebrated
dated July 19, 2005

July 13, 2005
Toronto, Ontario

       From the opening of the Canadian Auto Workers 2005 bargaining and Political Action Convention in Toronto on July 12th , the celebration of the union's 20th birthday was on. Bob Nickerson, the first Secretary Treasurer of the CAW recalled how demands from Chrysler for concessions lead to the breakaway from the UAW.

Bob Nickerson
Former CAW National Secretary Treasurer

       "Continued concessions that they were asking for in order to carry the corporation forward. And those concessions created the problems that eventually led to our breaking away and setting this great union up 20 years ago."

       Quebec Director Luc Desnoyers said throughout its history the CAW has been in the vanguard of the social fight for a better society.
       Peggy Nash ,assistant to the national president, outlined the tremendous progress women have made in the union, and challenged the members to continue the fight for equality for all workers.

Peggy Nash
Assistant to National President

       "There has been real concrete change, real progress over the last 20 years. The union needs you! Your energy, your conviction and your courage! You need to keep organizing your base and finding allies to help you win. That is how we have done it for 20 years. That's how it was done long before and the strength of our union history shows is to continue to fight even in tough times."

       Former CAW economist, Sam Gindin, said the formation of the CAW was an historical event.

Sam Gindin
Former Assistant to the President

       "The period leading up to the split and the eventual outcome of the split was one of those magical moments. It confirmed why socialist thinkers have always placed their hopes for social change in the working class."

July 14, 2005
Toronto, Ontario

       At a gala event closing the convention, Bob White, the man who led the auto workers out of the UAW and formed the CAW, was given a hero's welcome by national president Buzz Hargrove.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "Nobody! Nobody in our union in those days, nor nobody in our union today could have made the decision and led our union and kept it together with almost complete unanimity about where we are going as a union.
       Would you please give a good warm welcome to our friend and colleague brother Bob White?"

       White outlined some of the key events leading to the formation of the CAW, stressing how painful it was to leave the international UAW. He said it was not about leaving but rather about building a better union for Canadian workers.

Bob White
       "We said we don't just want to change the relationship. We want to make a union that is more democratic and more militant and really is accountable to the rank and file. There was never a local union leader who got into Solidarity House board meeting unless a local had been put under trusteeship.
       As I told the convention today, that morning we charted a course that said we will have two full time elected officers by the convention, the then UAW in Canada and the Quebec director but the rest of the national executive board will be made up of the rank and file activists from the UAW in Canada council executive, and that was fundamental to the democracy of our union."

       White encouraged young CAW members to aim for the top and to reach beyond where they are and build their union and society.

Bob White
       "We must always remember that we are not just a union. We are part of a broad based social movement. A social movement that cares about people in Canada. A social movement as Buzz says about poverty here and around the world, whose goals are to make our communities, our country and our world a better place. I'm so happy, I'm so proud of all of you. I want to dance."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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