The Unifor Convention: A short primer

The merger of the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP) into a single union called Unifor is taking place August 31-September 1 in Toronto. Unifor will consist of over 300,000 members, creating the largest private sector union in Canada.

The convention will be webcast live and a schedule can be found here. Guest speakers include Naomi Klein, Allan Gregg (watch his speech at the 2013 Alberta Federation of Labour convention), comedienne Mary Walsh and musician Lorraine Segato. Ken Georgetti, CLC president will speak, as well as French trade unionist Phillippe Martinez of the CGT’s Metal Workers Division.

Unifor-CEP-site-tout-EngDiscussion Papers
Three important discussion papers will be presented at the convention. These papers will likely have a large and lasting impact on what sort of union emerges from the convention. Needless to say, the shape of Unifor emerging from this convention will have important ramifications for the labour movement as a whole.

A New Union for a Challenging World: Unifor’s Vision and Plan
Jim Stanford, CAW chief economist
Fred Wilson, Assistant to the CEP President
Webcast: Saturday, 3:45pm EST

Unifor Organizing Policy
John Aman, CAW organizer
Duncan Brown, National Director, CEP Graphical
Webcast: Sunday, 10:30am EST

Broadening Union Citizenship: Unifor’s Members in Community Chapters
Roxane Dubois, CEP Communications
Webcast: Sunday, 2:30pm EST

Readings
The future of Unifor is unwritten, but a lot of ink has already been spilled promoting the new project and highlighting the union’s potential for rebuilding the labour movement. Others have raised concerns and criticisms based on the proposed constitution (download here), and other issues, such as the announcement of a leadership slate in advance of the convention.

Unionism, done differently
Dave Coles (former CEP president), Ken Lewenza (former CAW president), Rabble.ca, August 21 2013

Unifor and the potential rebirth of militant unionism
Gary Engler (Vice-President, CEP Local 2000), Rabble.ca, August 27 2013

The CAW-CEP Merger: New Union in a Difficult World
Herman Rosenfeld (retired CAW staff member, former GM autoworker), The Bullet, September 26 2012

The promise of Unifor’s Community Chapters
Morna Ballantyne (former PSAC and CUPE staff), UnionPost (blog), August 28  2013

Rankandfile.ca Interview with Kyle Buott
Kyle Buott (CAW member and president, Halifax-Dartmouth District Labour Council president), Rankandfile.ca, August 21 2013

The New Union Project: From bureaucratic crisis to rank and file opportunity
David Bush, Rabble.ca, August 8 2012

The CAW-CEP Merger: A Political Reflection
Bruce Allen, (Vice-President, CAW local 199), Rankandfile.ca, October 29 2012

Stay tuned…or contribute!
Rankandfile.ca will be providing more in-depth coverage and interviews of the merger in the coming weeks and months.

Rankandfile.ca welcomes and encourages CAW and CEP members to submit their thoughts for publication. Email us! editors@rankandfile.ca

Twitter users and convention viewers can follow us on Twitter @Rankandfileca and #Unifor

 

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