By on October 16, 2012

A merger between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union passed a ratification vote Monday, which will see the two unions merge and create the largest private-sector union in Canada. The new union won’t be limited strictly to workers either.

According to the Toronto Star, the new union

“…would go beyond organizing workplaces and begin recruiting students, seniors, the unemployed and anyone who shares its social and economic goals…”

A founding convention in 2013 would apparently determine issues such as whether those members would be responsible for paying union dues. CAW President Ken Lewenza was quoted as saying

“We’d be more than glad to represent the 99 per cent of Canadians and take on the 1 per cent that have had it their own way for too damn long…”

With private-sector union membership at an all-time low of 17 percent of the workforce and public opinion turning away from organized labor, the CAW’s merger plan is an astute attempt to shore up their dues-paying base, to say nothing of their rhetoric about the 99 percent. Whether they will be able to attract students, seniors and the like is another matter. The student movement in Canada lacks influence on campus, let alone in any broader sphere. It’s hard to see this as anything but a move borne from desperation.

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11 Comments on “CAW Merges, Creates “Super Union” Open To All...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    This sounds like class warfare recruitment, not a union. (Memo to manufacturers/investors: Look elsewhere.)

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    And how would the students pay their union dues to this abomination?

    OSAP of course!!!

    What a cluster…

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I doubt this will actually work. But if it does, at some point actual laborers will become a vestigial minority in a lobbying organization.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      This is a really dumb idea to try to stay relevant. So what, when they strike, are students not going to go to class? How can a retired or unemployed person strike? I suppose they can protest, but did that really do anything for Occupy? Unions are screwed and they know it. This has a small chance of working if they have a concrete vision and goals — i think that’s why Occupy failed — not because it lacked support, but because it lacked concrete policy goals

    • 0 avatar
      d524zoom-zoom

      ^^ you make an excellent point. As a former teamster I could not agree more. My problem with organized labor is that they have a hard enough time actually representing their current members, since in my experience they do a much better job representing the company i worked for.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    This actually seems to be a smart, Koboyashi Maru move by the CAW. If you can’t see a pathway to victory under the current rules, change the rules. It might not work, but going along with the status quo was doomed to failure.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’m fine with the CAW and TCA merging. Labor Union meet Labor Union. Recruiting people who can fog a mirror with their breath for union membership is a crock.

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      TCA means CAW en francais. TCA= Syndicat national de l’automobile, de l’aérospatiale, du transport et des autres travailleurs et travailleuses du Canada.

      The CAW merged with the CEP.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I thought communism died 20 years ago? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. At the very least it’s a bald-faced money grab from impressionable people who think joining this ‘union’ will somehow empower them.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’ll be more useful to see this kind of thing cross nation-state borders, rather than just industry sectors.

    “Oh, I’m sorry Mr. CEO, you were going to move to somewhere where labour is cheaper and regulations, both environmental and humanitarian, are less troublesome? Well, we’ll be there when you get there”.

    I’ll consider it an even playing field when labour can move across borders like capital can. Right now, it’s far too easy for management side to faciliate a race to the bottom.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    “We’d be more than glad to represent the 99 per cent of Canadians and take on the 1 per cent that have had it their own way for too damn long…”

    Really? I thought organized labor was a case of representing the 17% against the best interests of the 83%.


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