Canada may soon have a new and dominant private sector union as
the CAW and CEP continue to talk merger.
Both of these large unions are the products of earlier mergers,
but forces are compelling another, and bigger, combination.
They have identified a "moment of truth" brought on by
a number of factors. Predictably, "hostility from right wing
governments" and "aggressive attacks by global
employers" are blamed. But more perceptively, they also
identify the continued erosion of union density in the private
sector, failure of organizing efforts, generational change, growing
negative public opinion, and fragmentation of the labour
Talks began last year and are continuing on a set course. A
final proposal is to be completed in July for presentation at
annual conventions in August and October. The hope is to have a new
union up and running shortly thereafter.
The finer points of such a massive undertaking may yet throw the
current plans off course, but if not, we can expect to see:
a new union with about 320,000 members in all provinces and in
many different industries
an increased organizing budget
an immediate organizing push in industries in which either or
both the CAW or CEP is already strong
a plan to aggressively organize in other industries
some new ideas to revitalize the labour movement, such as a new
category of membership for unemployed, unorganized, temporary,
young and other employees.
If the unions are right, employers can sit back and count on
friendly governments to help them out. But a better strategy is to
work every day to ensure that your employees feel no need for union
In the meantime, you can follow the progress of the proposed
merger at New Union
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