CAW-CEP merger in the works

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Grandpa_Bill

Unionist wrote:

I think we should sit down and identify what the 99% need, and have a broad social conversation about whether those needs should be supplied by chance, or luck of birth, or high incomes - or by society making a concerted effort to ensure that no one goes without.

I`m taking your comment as ironic, Unionist, assuming that all of us here are on the side of `society making a concerted effort to ensure that no one goes without.` We know that in rich countries where the income gap is less, more people lead better lives. Any step to Reduce the Gap moves us in the direction we want to go.

Unions can highlight the need to Reduce the Gap by making it an issue in their public bargaining.  They can make it an issue by asking for caps and reductions on wages and salaries and the eliminations of bonuses of high-end (non-union) earners in the companies where they have contracts.

More generally, a successful effort to restructure the tax system, adding additional high-tax brackets for high-end earners, would make funds available for society to do what you say: ensure that no one goes without.

Unionist

As I said, Grandpa_Bill, I think that a campaign to reduce salaries from $16 million to $1.6 million is a gigantic diversion away from what unions need to do for workers and for all of society. Likewise for the view that restructuring the tax system is any kind of priority. We'll have to disagree on this one, I guess.

 

Grandpa_Bill

Unionist wrote:

We'll have to disagree on this one, I guess.

 

Reasonable men and women can and do disagree on how best to move the social justice agenda forward.  With respect to the importance of income equality in all of this, you aren't disagreeing with me, but with 40 years of research results that associate equality with a dozen or more markers of societal health and well-being.  C'est la vie!

An interesting discussion.  Many thanks for taking an old man seriously.

Grandpa_Bill

Unionist wrote:

We'll have to disagree on this one, I guess.

 

Reasonable men and women can and do disagree on how best to move the social justice agenda forward.  With respect to the importance of income equality in all of this, you aren't disagreeing with me, but with 40 years of research results that associate equality with a dozen or more markers of societal health and well-being.  C'est la vie!

An interesting discussion.  Many thanks for taking an old man seriously.

Unionist

Grandpa_Bill wrote:
Many thanks for taking an old man seriously.

Likewise. Laughing

And no, I don't think we're really disagreeing too fundamentally about anything.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Now is the time to change status quo, labour experts say


Conference and new website kick off CAW/CEP union talks

quote:

“Union renewal and labor movement revitalization will remain fragmented and ineffective without a coordinated approach and a common vision and agenda,” he said. “This is an opportune time to reflect on current state and future prospects. There is clear opportunity for unions in the present moment.”

John Cartwright and Lana Payne echoed those sentiments. “Most importantly you are saying the status quo is no longer OK and we’re going to do something about it,” added Payne.

Cartwright stressed the need “to go back to the grass roots to find the strength to prevail against powerful corporations and their political servants. We do that best by looking to our roots – the patient, tough, sustained work that was done by those who first built our unions. Those future conversations at kitchen tables – about the kind of future we want for our families, our neighbours and our world – will be the key to our success in the 21st century.”...

Grandpa_Bill

Good to see the subject of this thread back in the news today--or at least back in Walkom's column in the Star:

Walkom:  From CAW and CEP comes a new (old) idea to rebuild unions

Walkom wrote:

Unions got their start in [the 19th century] by offering members tangible benefits, ranging from burial insurance to summer camp for the kids.

The CEP-CAW scheme echoes this with its suggestion of letting those outside of traditional bargaining units participate in union-sponsored benefit plans.

. . . .

And the idea of unifying workers as a class is as old as the labour movement itself, dating back to the radical Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, and Canada's short-lived One Big Union.

That labour is even talking about such things is a great step forward. Thanks to outsourcing, the factory model of work, on which the modern union movement was built, is virtually finished in North America.

It's no surprise that the two protagonists in this effort come from factory-style industries in decline.

What's that old saw about Necessity:  the Mother of Invention.  Whatever, eh?!

 

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Interesting discussion here, though maybe a separate thread might be opened on  negotiating goods and services being provided free of charge or cheaper. starting with food.

There is discussion going on in Ontario about  there being no reason school cafeterias should not be providing cheap, nutritous and tasty food for students,   What about expanding free  breakfast and lunch programs for the "poor" to universal programs?   I once spent a university semester in residence, where food vouchers reedemable at the on campus cafeteria were included in the residence fee .  Are not the Quebec students negotiating student fees and the cost and profit of university administration includeingresidences and school cafeterias?  It makes perfect sense in the 21st century "knowlege economy" to move toward free public education at the post -secondary level, that  could and should include free or cheap food and housing, as well as  texbooks athletic and other costs secondary to tuition .

 Then, where and what  do teachers and staff eat in our schools-  are custodians and vice principals and universtiy profs expected to pack peanut butter and jam sandwichs to eat in the staff lunch room or are they expected to dine at the local restaurants?  Do the workers and their unions not  negotiate  access to facilities for eating and the type and  cost of food?  What about doctors, nurses, hospital workers, do they eat the same food as the patients and the pateitns visitors, dining in the hospital cafeteria or do they have their own private facilites, subject to negotiaton ? When I was a proud member of CUPW at Terminal A Toronto,  our cafeteria, used by thousands of us over 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  was subsidized ,so not only our meals but coffee and donuts on a break were cheaper and easier to access than walking out of the building to local restaurants. made sense for the workers and the empoyer. Not just public secotr workers but many private sector workers in asembly lines, in  the isolated resouce extraction firms or high tech "knowlede economy" businesses of the CAW and CEP , have to be concerned and have to negotiate the time for meals and breaks and  facilites and food services.

We have long moved past the point where the food we eat is a private affair- where waht we eat was grown on  the local family farm, bought at the local grocer and cooked and served by the "stay at home mom'  to the hungry hubbie home from work and the kids home from school  at 6:00 PM sharp... People eat at  work, at achool, at social events, at restaurants and food courts,  they buy take-out food and have food delivered .  Even the most basic food onsumed at home - bread and  milk -  is processed  by large enterprises for mass consumption with virtually every step, from the planting ot the gene modified wheat and the breeding of the cow, through the mass processing facilities  where the chemicals are added  and the exact nurtional composition of every ounce is fine tuned , is buject to public regulation and inspection.and negotiaon.

Yes we should have collective discussion and decision making  about food security  and food supply and cost  .The union movement has been and can be one of the major partners in the negotiations

Solidarite.

 

Wilf Day wrote:

Unionist wrote:

. . . we should keep increasing the scope of necessary goods and services that are provided free of charge (or very cheap) by society as a whole. We've already made great strides with health care and K-12 education. We should go much further (pharmaceuticals, dental care, post-secondary tuition and living expenses, etc.).

Agreed.

Unionist wrote:

And then we should do likewise with social housing, public child care, etc. etc. Ultimately, people won't need as much income - because they won't have big charges to pay at the store or on their credit card.

Umm, what does "etc. etc." mean? Food and clothes to the extent covered by your ration coupons, as during the second world war? It could be done, but I'm not sure who wants to have line-ups and ration books at the department stores, Soviet-style.

Free child care? Does any country have that? Again, it could be done, but are you serious?

Social housing for the 99%? Really?

genstrike

I've been mulling this merger proposal over in my head pretty much since it came out, and I have a few half-formed thoughts.

First off, M. Spector is right that the merger is more of a sign of weakness than of strength.  It seems pretty clear that because of loss of employment in their core sectors (especially among guys making $30 an hour whose dues go further to financially support the union), both the CAW and CEP are likely facing financial issues and the merger seems to be a last ditch effort to stave off bleeding to death.

Secondly, the position paper itself has some concerning proposals in it.  It seems to be going in the direction of trying to slash overhead through centralization - such as moving towards mega-locals - and trying to use the savings for whatever purpose the enlightened leadership sees best.

In short, some of the things in the position paper seem to be pointing towards the SEIU model of business unionism.

My view is that to truly revitalize the Canadian labour movement, it needs to be done from below and it needs to be done according to truly democratic lines.  Otherwise, we're just fiddling with budgets and our own bureaucratic structures, dog-paddling against the tide.

As an analogy, just look at the difference the participatory, militant, democratic student unionism of (CL)ASSE makes when compared to the bureaucratic, centralized student unionism of the CFS.

I'm glad that some interesting things are being discussed, such as the idea of letting workers join even if they aren't under contract (although I'm not sure how it will be done, and I am concerned that any effort on that front will end up as simply a scheme to sell insurance).  However, I think we need to keep two things in mind:

1. Mergers aren't a magic bullet.  It didn't work in Australia.

2. There is no alternative to working to revitalize the labour movement from below.

Fidel

Fascists love it when labour unions are divided and weakened as they are today while corporate mega-mergers result in increasing assaults on labour rights. Fascists tend to attack labour and unions as a first order of their undemocratic agenda. And they don't like national student unions and esp. not ones that support the largest opposition party ever elected to oppose a phony-majority government in Ottawa. Fascists and political conservatives alike share a hatred of labour, free labour markets, and a disdain for democracy in general.

MegB

Okay Fidel, you clearly have no desire to engage in reasonable discourse.  I'm going to give you a week to think (seriously this time) about whether you want to continue contributing here.

If you come back with the same beligerent, hostile and bullying behaviour, the choice will no longer be yours.

genstrike

I'm pretty sure having some concerns about the details of a proposal being put forward by the union leadership does not a fascist make.

ETA:  Sorry, cross-posted with Rebecca.

So, anyone have any thoughts on the proposal?  As a sidenote, there's some stuff in the later chapters of Canadian Labour in Crisis which is particularly illuminating on this issue - union reform from above or from below, and specifically what kind of unionism is being revitalized really matters when you're talking about proposals to revitalize and reform the labour movement.  Pretty much anything can be gussied up as a bold new step in union revitalization - just look at the CAW press releases from a few years ago on the "innovative" Magna deal.

Wilf Day

Rebecca West wrote:

Okay Fidel, you clearly have no desire to engage in reasonable discourse.  I'm going to give you a week to think (seriously this time) about whether you want to continue contributing here.

If you come back with the same beligerent, hostile and bullying behaviour, the choice will no longer be yours.

You've completely lost me, Rebecca. What did Fidel say to prompt that?

genstrike wrote:
I'm pretty sure having some concerns about the details of a proposal being put forward by the union leadership does not a fascist make.

Who said it did?

vouchsafer

Fidel

Bygones. Time to move on.

robbie_dee

Quote:

A contest in Windsor, Ont., aims to come up with a new name for the Canadian Auto Workers if the union merges with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

The road to a merger hasn't met any bumps yet. The proposal goes to a CAW convention in Toronto next month, and a CEP gathering in October.

CAW Local 444, to which national president Ken Lewenza belongs, is asking for input from union members on an appropriate new name.

"This is a way for them to understand what's happening in regards to the discussions and as we get closer to that merger, there is going to be a name change and our members need to recognize that," said Dino Chiodo, president of the local, which has members working at the Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant, Caesars Windsor and other workplaces in Windsor.

The deadline for name suggestions is early next month.

A committee will choose five top names and send them to the national union.

The merged union is expected to have 325,000 Canadian members.

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2012/07/13/wdr-caw-name-new-... News: CAW Local 444 holds contest to name possible new union[/url]

autoworker autoworker's picture

Having observed recent internecine conflict at the local level, I'm loathe to imagine such intrigue on a national scale.

Wilf Day

robbie_dee wrote:
A contest in Windsor, Ont., aims to come up with a new name for the Canadian Auto Workers if the union merges with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

IndustriALL Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors and is a new force in global solidarity taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world. IndustriALL Global Union represents workers in a wide range of sectors from extraction of oil and gas, mining, generation and distribution of electric power, to manufacturing of metals and metal products, shipbuilding, automotive, aerospace, mechanical engineering, electronics, chemicals, rubber, pulp and paper, building materials, textiles, garments, leather and footwear and environmental services.

robbie_dee

IndustriALL is a good name, but it sounds like it's already taken? I was going to suggest Paper, Automotive, Communications and Energy workers union (PACE), but that was mostly out of a sense of irony. (Note - PACE was the U.S. union that Canadian pulp and paper workers fought to get out of by forming CEP instead. PACE has since merged with the Steelworkers).

Unionist

How about Stealworkers?

j/k

derrick derrick's picture

Update: Yesterday in Toronto the CEP and CAW held a press conference to lay out merger plans. You can watch the full video here

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

The video is good but the report, which can be found over here in a pdf report,   is a must-read. I realize that I haven't posted much at all here, but it's disappointing that there isn't more discussion on babble about this process. I urge every babbler to read the report and take their time in doing so.

Firstly, the thread might wisely have a different title. This is not a merger. There's a whole lot more going on here. The process that is taking place in order to make the new union successful is amazing for its depth and breadth.

"Its creation will be the result of a process of discussion and debate not seen previously in recent labour history."

The very location of the press conference was significant, at Ryerson, as it "will change the face of Canada and be studied for decades" according to the very articulate Quebecois leader of the CEP. Incidently, this organization has already successfully vaulted over the issue of recognizing the NJational character of Quebec, with a positive approach, saluted the recent efforts of student in that province, etc.

Read it. You might call it a kind of "What is to be Done?" for the Canadian working class.

Quote:
Two Canadian unions are negotiating a deal that, if successful, just might reinvigorate the labour movement…
How do unions make this leap? In part, the new proposal harkens back to an earlier era when unions, such as the 19th-century Knights of Labour, acted more like fraternal organizations than modern-day collective bargaining units.
Unions got their start in those days by offering members tangible benefits, ranging from burial insurance to summer camp for the kids. The CEP-CAW scheme echoes this with its suggestion of letting those outside of traditional bargaining units participate in union-sponsored benefit plans. With its talk of organizing the jobless, the proposal also harkens back to similar attempts … in the 1930s. And the idea of unifying workers as a class is as old as the labour movement itself, dating back to the radical Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, and Canada’s short-lived One Big Union.
That labour is even talking about such things is a great step forward.

Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, May 23 2012

From the video and the remarks by the leadership of CEP/CAW, we note ...

 

- the report reflects a new vision for labour. The new union will revive, as Walkhom has noted, some practically anti-diluvial labour approaches. It will represent, in addition to the over 300,000 combined members of CAW and CEP, those who have no collective agreement, those who have no specific or single employer, those who are yet to work, ie, the unemployed, public and private sectors alike, so that they can say, as it should be, that anyone who shares the values of the organization will be welcome to be a member and be represented by a union. A glorious vision. There is a democratic spirit that is unshakeable and infectious. As one person noted, "It takes a lot to overcome the cynicism and self-victimization that characterizes so much of left working-class culture."

- it involves the largest coming together of 2 unions in Canadian history. It is unprecedented. The resources that are intended to be mustered are astounding. 50 million bucks in the first 5 years for organizing. How's them apples? The new union will have the largest organizational capacity of any union in Canada. With around 85 000 women members, it will have more women members than many whole provincial federations of labour in Canada.  It will represent, as the report goes into astonishing detail, 20 key sectors of the Canadian economy.

- following the CAW (August 2012) and CEP (Octover 2012) Conventions, the new as-yet unnamed union will hold a founding convention in 2013.

- It has the support of some key labour and political leadership in Ontario (Ryan of OFL, Cartwright of TLC, Nash of NDP, eg)

- there is a kind of enthusiasm not seen in the labour movement for some time. It is inspiring. I particulary like that the report and its authors do not shy away from addressing their class enemies in no uncertain terms and put governments that attack working people on notice that battles are forthcoming. At the same time, they have soberly addressed the history of neoliberalism and its responsibility for landing social life in this country, and many others, into a land of impoverishment and bare-fanged class war from above. One of the so-called MSM phone callers asked a question which both Coles of CEP and the CAW leader responded to by poinint out specific actions of the class enemies (ignoring issues in the forest industry other than to avoid responsibility for pensions, or the whole neo-liberal vision of mass impoverishment alongside shareholder and corporate glutunous enrichment) ; for myself, I would probably make a slightly different analysis that emphasized the objective character of some of the political economy of capitalism in the post war period but, no matter!)

Quote:

The new union will be a large, diverse and active ‘general workers’ union. We will be a union that has
crossed and blurred old occupational lines and traditional union boundaries. Our new union will represent another
stage in the development of unions. In the early days of craft unionism, solidarity was based on common
occupations. At the peak of industrial unions, solidarity was extended across occupational lines to include workers
across skills and jobs within a particular industry or sector. Today, our solidarity is more powerful because it
builds class consciousness by strengthening the ties that unite us across jobs, industries and geography in our new
union.

I will give the last word to the two leaders, Dave Coles of CEP (who has certainly already won my admiration long ago for his cool-under-fire handling of the SQ police provocateurs in Montebello) and Ken Lewenza of CAW:

"This proposal for a new Canadian union will make Canadian labour history. The report speaks for itself and presents a great, new vision for Canadian workers. Our members will now decide this future."

Read the goddam report.

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

David Bush has read the report and views it as an opportunity for rank and file union members to set a new direction/agenda for labour in Canada. See his column over at rabble.ca

gutripper

The CAW made a great support gesture today by supporting CEP local 79M today, we have been locked out by Bell for 6 weeks now. Bell's version of bargaining is take it or leave it.  There was near a thousand protestors involved, starting from the Sheraton, west to Bay and over to the Bell building on Adelaide. 

 

http://business.financialpost.com/2012/08/23/caw-cep-target-bell-over-television-technician-lockout/

 

 

Thank you CAW.

autoworker autoworker's picture

At the very least, this merged entity will have both the political heft, and combined experience to negotiate better closure agreements. Hopefully, that won't often be necessary.

1weasel

Way delayed in mentioning this but it was fun to see some of the rabble folks at the CEP convention in Quebec.

 

One of the troublemakers in the colourful bowling shirts. Cool

Grandpa_Bill

ikosmos, quoting Walkom as follows, wrote:

Two Canadian unions are negotiating a deal that, if successful, just might reinvigorate the labour movement…
How do unions make this leap? In part, the new proposal harkens back to an earlier era when unions, such as the 19th-century Knights of Labour, acted more like fraternal organizations than modern-day collective bargaining units.
Unions got their start in those days by offering members tangible benefits, ranging from burial insurance to summer camp for the kids. The CEP-CAW scheme echoes this with its suggestion of letting those outside of traditional bargaining units participate in union-sponsored benefit plans. With its talk of organizing the jobless, the proposal also harkens back to similar attempts … in the 1930s. And the idea of unifying workers as a class is as old as the labour movement itself, dating back to the radical Industrial Workers of the World, or Wobblies, and Canada’s short-lived One Big Union.

That labour is even talking about such things is a great step forward.

Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, May 23 2012

Dollars to donuts, this get put on the back burner until the next big merger proposal.

Unionist

"Unifor".

Really?

[url=http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1174815/unifor-a-strong-new-bold-union-f... A strong, new, bold union for Canadian workers[/url]

That's what focus groups and communications strategists will do to for you.

And I note that the "U" in the logo is broken.

Oh well.

Let's hope for the best!

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Proper Uniform allowances will be the first bargaining priority at all locals.

What a stupid name.

Doug

It sounds as if it ought to be a construction company.

Doug

Or perhaps an industrial cleaning company.

onlinediscountanvils

Doug wrote:
Or perhaps an industrial cleaning company.

Yeah, Unilever was the first thing that came to mind when I heard it.

gadar

wtf? now i am a Unifor worker (that doesnt sound right). Who came up with this? Is there something i am missing here uni in lower case and FOR in upper.

Unionist

Someone said it sounded like a pharmaceutical brand. I think I'll pop a couple Unifors - ttyl.

ETA: They served cake. https://vine.co/v/bYw07dBpg70

gadar

Oh well at least they got the color right, I hated the old blue. NDP partisans may not like the red tho lol

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Introducing Unifor: New union opens its doors to rebuild labour movement's power

A union's logo is a symbol that workers carry with pride, on their hard hats, on their membership cards, on their sleeves, explained Trish Hennessy of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one of the speakers at the Thursday event.

The name, Unifor, denotes the unification of 300,000 members and 800 local unions under this new organization. The 'U' of the logo is comprised of two halves, each representing one of the national unions that came together to form the new one.

But Unifor's name and logo are far more than a re-branding of old unions. They represent a radical new step in the labour movement, one that has been planned and refined since January, 2012. CEP and CAW leaders are adamant that Unifor is not a merger. It is the creation of an entirely new union, one with unprecedented scope and inclusivity.

"We're going to open the doors to people who do not have traditional employment," said CEP President Dave Coles.

That means inviting contract workers, students, retirees, the self-employed, the underemployed, even the unemployed, to become full voting members. "We're going to offer membership to people in Canada who have never had the opportunity to be represented, or to have a voice, in labour before," Coles said.

The open invitation to members, the first of its kind for a Canadian union, is an attempt to muster power in a harshly anti-labour climate. Canada's labour groups have been fighting the hyper-capitalist politics of neoliberalism since the Brian Mulroney administration. More recent challenges, including the global financial crisis, and the election of a majority Conservative government, have resulted in attacks on workers' rights from employers and politicians alike.

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

The new name leaves me wondering if they subscribe to the principles of Ingsoc, or if they are in the pay of Eastasia or Euasia.

Unionist does have a good point in suggesting it sounds like a controlled substance though... I wonder if the results from a different focus group got confused with those consulted about this new name.

Unionist

Now for a few positive comments.

The name actually works better in French (Uni! Fort! - United! Strong!).

The most exciting part is reaching out to all working folks, including unemployed, precarious, freelance, etc., and students and others. All that's needed is a few convinced and dedicated activists to run with this, and fight to ensure it doesn't get bureaucratized from day one.

We need change, and this looks like change. I'll support it just for that reason. And hopefully other unions won't see it as a threat, but rather as a challenge to grow the movement.

jas

Would be a good name for a forestry company. As such, not bad for a union. I guess there's no rule saying union names have to always be acronyms. It's got a good, broad, transnational feel to it, that, to me, signifies breadth and power.

Just curious, I know the CEP represented mill workers. Did one of the former entities represent forestry workers?

I think it's very exciting the new direction and inclusivity they are proposing, but wonder if it's feasible for one union to represent that many interests.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

My wife, who is now a member of Unifor, thought it sounded like Canfor. But then she does come from Vancouver Island.

onlinediscountanvils

jas wrote:
I think it's very exciting the new direction and inclusivity they are proposing, but wonder if it's feasible for one union to represent that many interests.

It won't be without its challenges. But I think it's not only possible, but essential.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
The most exciting part is reaching out to all working folks, including unemployed, precarious, freelance, etc., and students and others.

Yes, I absolutely agree. It has so much potential if they actually do this with reciprocity and cooperation in mind.

I don't really care about the name or the logo. So what? It's this positive change I'm interested in.

ETA I'm extremely curious about the benefits to dues-paying members who are unemployed, students, in precarious work, etc. How will Unifor make membership attractive to those members who won't receive collective bargaining rights? Here's what the August 2012 Final Report (posted upthread by ikosmos) says:

Our goal is to give individuals a chance to identify with and join the union, even when they cannot feasibly organize a certified bargaining unit in their workplace or do not even have a workplace. This strategy to broaden our membership will be undertaken in a manner that supports our ongoing efforts to certify conventional bargaining units which will remain the core strength of the union.

These new groups of members will pay union dues, and will have the opportunity to participate in the campaigns, activities and structures of the broader union. Special emphasis will be placed on training and education to enhance the capacity of these members to fight for fair treatment in their jobs. Specific details regarding their membership, dues, servicing, and democratic participation will all need to be carefully developed.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I very much like what the new union is trying to do.

Not sure I like the name all that much.  

My first hit doing a search was an Italian office furniture maker.

It's also the acronym for the University of Fortaleza in Brazil.

Also some kind of Norwegian search engine for university research funds and endowments (I think)

A metal forging company in South Carolina

A construction company in Singapore

A uniform company in Peru

A corporate supply store in Australia  (they sell booze and toilet paper!)

A Czech online learning management system

A Chinese steel products company

A model of poultry cage made by the Kutlusan Poultry Equipment Company in Turkey

So, as the brothers and sisters increasingly unite with the working class around the world in the struggle against global corporations I can occasionally see a little confusion happening around the table at conferences or on internet chats...."Oh no, we're not THAT UNIFOR!".Laughing

I wish the new union every success!

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

lol!

Aristotleded24

Unionist wrote:
Now for a few positive comments. The name actually works better in French (Uni! Fort! - United! Strong!).

C'est comme le mot "parlement" (le politician "parle" et "ment") marche mieux dans francais qu'anglais!Laughing

Michelle

The first thing I said when I heard the new name on the radio was, "What the f?" Then when they explained that it was a combination of "union" and "forward" I thought, oh, okay, I get it.  But I would never have gotten that without the explanation.  I thought it sounded like one of those strange corporate names that no one can figure out, some megacorp that owns a bunch of industrial cleaners or toilet papers - maybe it was making me subconsciously think of "Unilever", like someone else in the thread.

Well, at least it makes the "Uniford" joke by onlinediscountanvils in the other thread (Rob and Doug Ford = Uniford) pretty funny. :)

It's one of those names where at first it sounds weird, but I'm thinking we'll get used to it and then it will be perfectly normal.  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE their vision for moving forward and trying to unionize non-traditional working sectors.  It sounds like they're really thinking about how to work with the current labour force, and I love it that they're doing that.  Good for them!  Colour me impressed.  I wish them all (including any members here) every good thing moving forward.

 

1weasel

There isn't much invested into the name yet so it's natural not to feel any attachment to it.

I did manage to dig out some comments I submitted to the proposal committee last year.  There's no way to tell how much my input matched what was being considered at the time.

 

One item I took from the CEP Media Council Conference was the comment that we should be reconnecting to our communities. While things like sponsorships and such feel good, they do not emphasis our core strength: labour relations.  We need to be the go to place for anyone seeking information on labour law, health & safety, and other issues that affect the lives of working people.  We've got money sitting unused in organizing funds that could be put to use in outreach to aid workers. We are the people with the labour knowledge to guide people through their troubles.  If you can prove the union can be there in time of need then those people should be receptive to organizing.  Yes, it will require advertising and staffing a help line to refer workers to local help but, done smartly, it should benefit the union in the long run.  It would not be our responsibility to fund these cases but to advise them on how to proceed. We could even offer training courses, at cost, to workers that want to learn more about health & safety, etc. While we talk a good game about organizing, it will be planting these seeds from workplace-to-workplace that carry us forward.  We must be that place for labour information.

Unionist

I think that's great, 1weasel, and I see it as part of the answer to Catchfire's question above:

Catchfire wrote:
I'm extremely curious about the benefits to dues-paying members who are unemployed, students, in precarious work, etc. How will Unifor make membership attractive to those members who won't receive collective bargaining rights?

But even though the union movement's "expertise" is in labour relations (I just had to put that in quotation marks...), what stops unions from partnering with other organizations (women, students, anti-poverty, aboriginal, etc.) to help provide a broader range of "go-to" resources, to workers and members of the community in general?

The aim would be not just planting seeds to organize the unorganized (however vital that is, and it is), but also to build links for vibrant alliances across different sectors and struggles.

ETA: In answer to Catchfire's point about "dues-paying members" who aren't working or are working in non-union places, I can't believe Unifor (oy vey) will charge more than nominal dues - although I haven't seen their plan in this regard, or whether it's been formulated yet.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It wasn't so much the price of the dues, Unionist -- just a niggling concern that as written, it looks like Unifor wants to marshall strength from non-traditional sources, some of whom are already organized. That's a great and necessary idea, but that dynamic can't be unidirectional, eh? Is there another reason for these "other" groups to join Unifor (and not, say, Common Causes, Red Hand, etc.) other than it's potentially good for Unifor? 

Usually, because "the union makes us strong" is a good enough answer for me, but I think that if this is going to work, Unifor needs to take up these other causes as if they were their own. That's a big ask.

I hope it's understood that I'm asking these questions from a place of hope and enthusiasm.

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

It wasn't so much the price of the dues, Unionist -- just a niggling concern that as written, it looks like Unifor wants to marshall strength from non-traditional sources, some of whom are already organized. That's a great and necessary idea, but that dynamic can't be unidirectional, eh? Is there another reason for these "other" groups to join Unifor (and not, say, Common Causes, Red Hand, etc.) other than it's potentially good for Unifor? 

Usually, because "the union makes us strong" is a good enough answer for me, but I think that if this is going to work, Unifor needs to take up these other causes as if they were their own. That's a big ask.

I hope it's understood that I'm asking these questions from a place of hope and enthusiasm.

I agree 100%. There's nothing sadder, or ultimately more self-defeating, than unionized workers who don't use their strength and resources to "commit solidarity" with others. We have access to money, professionals (research, lawyers, economists, etc.), activists, volunteers, networks, office staff, you name it, that others can only dream of. Part of building alliances has to be to offer and share all that.

If that's Unifor's intent, I support it and it's long overdue. But now you've made me wonder. I see why non-unionized workers becoming members of Unifor makes sense. But what about those whose main struggle/activity isn't in the workplace - and who may already be organized in those movements (student, women, poor, etc.)? Why should they become "members" of Unifor (or any other union) in a "unidirectional" sense? Shouldn't their status be that of "allies" or something, even if they do benefit from whatever resources or support Unifor can provide? Or: Why not Unifor members in the appropriate location or constituency also be encouraged to become "members" of those other organizations?

I wish I knew what Unifor inner circle types were looking at. My concern is that I haven't yet seen much sign of this discussion being public, or even within CAW-CEP membership ranks. Everything, from choosing the name to coming up with a draft constitution, seems to have been done by some committees. Unions (speaking from personal experience) don't tend to name the most imaginative, forward-looking, radical people to such committees.

Maybe they'll unleash something which takes on a life of its own.

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