CAW Policy Letter #20: National Representatives Voting in Local Union Elections for Workplace Representatives

January 23, 2003


LETTER NO. 20 REVISED January 23, 2003

National Representatives Voting in Local Union Elections for Workplace Representatives

To: CAW Local Union Presidents, Recording Secretaries, Unit Chairpersons


National representatives of the CAW-Canada hold a unique place in the democratic structures of our union. Most held an elected position within local unions before being appointed to staff and being placed on a leave of absence to work full-time for the national union. While on leave, national representatives continue to maintain an attachment to their original employer and workplace. They also continue to maintain membership in, and pay dues to, their local union.

Those appointed from outside the union are given the opportunity to designate a local union to which they pay dues.

As committed trade union activists, they participated in the democratic structures of our union while at the workplace. Becoming full-time staff does not diminish their commitment, nor does it diminish their respect for the democratic principles on which they base their activism. In fact, the preamble to their collective agreement with CAW acknowledges that their status as employees of the CAW does not place them in a traditional employee-employer relationship.

However, we recognize that by virtue of their absence from their workplace, their interests can be seen as different from those of other members who are in the workplace. This is already reflected in the national constitution which restricts their ability to run for or hold elected office in a local union.

Consequently, and consistent with that distinction, national representatives agree they will not vote in their local union elections for workplace representatives.

In solidarity,

Basil 'Buzz' Hargrove

cc: Jim O'Neil, Assistants, National Executive Board, National Representatives

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