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.