Unifor: A fresh turn for private-sector unionism in Canada

The condition of service-sector workers in Canada, and the trend of declining union density in Canada's private sector, may witness a shift with the emergence of a new union in the country.

Unifor, product of a merger between the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP), has allocated a reported $50-million warchest to organize workers in the services sector.

The emergence of Unifor represents one of the more notable developments in the Canadian labour landscape in recent years. You can listen to audio from the news conference announcing the new union at the online news magazine, Rabble.ca. The news release is provided below.


Unifor: A strong, new, bold union for Canadian workers

ORONTO, May 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The new Canadian union being formed by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) will be named Unifor.  The name and logo were unveiled today during a packed press conference of 200 local leaders, members, community supporters and allies.

"Today, we are proud to introduce our new union as Unifor, a union that will fight for working people in every sector of the economy and in every community in Canada," said CEP National President Dave Coles. "Unifor will be a union for young workers, those struggling to piece together part-time work and contract jobs, and other precarious working conditions. It will be a union for everyone."

"All together, Unifor will be: 800 local unions, 3,000 bargaining units, in more than 20 different sectors, and we're here to show that we will be a strong voice and a positive force for change for working people across this nation," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

Unifor Canada was chosen as a name that is expressive, dynamic, and symbolizes the two unions' aspirations as a new organization: to be united, strong, modern, forward-looking. The name was picked after a process that spanned several months and involved members, union leadership, communications advisers and community allies.

"We have a new union with a new name, and today we will begin to build the next chapter in the future of the labour movement in Canada," said CEP Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard. "This new union identity - the name and logo - expresses our aspirations for all Canadians, at work and in our communities. This new union will take our movement forward, to a new era of engagement and action."

"This is an historic moment for our two unions, and the Canadian labour movement, another concrete step in the direction of creating Canada's largest private sector union," said CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy. "Collectively, we will represent over 300,000 members and plan to grow to represent many more."

The two unions worked with national communications firm Strategic Communications and Pivot Design Group, in developing the name, logo and new union identity.

More information and graphics on Unifor and the new design are available at: www.newunionconvention.ca

The Founding Convention of Unifor will take place over Labour Day weekend in Toronto (August 31- September 1). At that time, CEP and CAW delegates will vote to create Unifor as an entity, and then will hold individual vote to merge with the new union.


SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

For further information:

For more information or to request an interview:
Angelo DiCaro, CAW Communications, 416-606-6311, angelo.dicaro@caw.ca
Roxanne Dubois, CEP Communications, 613-724-7486, rdubois@cep.ca
Katie Arnup, CAW  Communications 416-333-8097, katie.arnup@caw.ca

Follow Unifor on Twitter: @UniforTheUnion and @SyndicatUnifor


Watch video on Youtube