By Victoria Ptashnick
August 1, 2012
Striving to form one big union
Two of the largest private sector unions in the country unveiled their plans Wednesday to merge.
“To (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper and all the politicians that want to attack the workers, get ready because soon we’re gonna have the largest union to kick your butts,” said Gaetan Menard, Secretary Treasurer of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP).
The Canadian Auto Workers and CEP started formal discussions to join together more than eight months ago.
CEP President Dave Coles told a press conference at Ryerson University that the discussions mark the largest coming together of two unions in Canadian history.
The two labour organizations presented a report about the creation of the new union that would have a new name and represent over 300,000 workers across Canada.
“In this report, our unions are mapping out the way to a new union that will focus on advancing the interest of all Canadian workers,” said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.
The report says that the new union will allocate $50 million over five years to recruit new members and develop new local unions in every province.
“This report is the first step towards reaching out beyond traditional workplaces and increasing the political influence of all working people,” Coles said.
A final report that details the merging will be presented to members of both unions at each of their conventions and their will be a vote on whether the plans will go ahead.
The CAW convention will be held in Toronto in late August and the CEP convention takes place in Quebec City in October.
Lewenza said he hopes the new union will be in operation in 2013.