Second union OKs plan to create Canadian mega union

Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:44pm EDT
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By Allison Martell and Susan Taylor

(Reuters) - A second union approved plans to create Canada's biggest private sector union in a vote on Monday, promising to revitalize the labor movement with a merger between the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).

Delegates at a CEP convention in Quebec City approved a 45-page blueprint for a new union that will boast more than 300,000 members, leaving representatives of the two unions with the task of naming the new union and determining how it will work.

CAW members approved the outline plan in August.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us to bring our two organizations together and to consummate this marriage of two hell raisers made in heaven," CAW secretary-treasurer Peter Kennedy told a news conference announcing the vote.

Leaders of both unions have pitched the merger as a way to shore up the labor movement in the face of growing pressure for concessions and the increasing willingness of governments to intervene in labor disputes, often to the benefit of management.

Organizers promise to increase the size of the union, which will accept unemployed and retired workers and expects to merge with other smaller unions in Canada in the future.

"We have to be relevant and this brings us right down to the grass roots of every community," CEP national president Dave Coles told the news conference.

"There are unions right across this country that are following this...I can also say that the world's watching..."   Continued...