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CAW CEP Merger

December 19, 2011 by staff 

CAW CEP MergerCAW CEP Merger, CAW president Ken Lewenza says the auto union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union are considering a merger, adding the talks are “very preliminary.”

There are also reports that the CEP distributed to staff a memo that outlined issues the two unions would need to resolve before a merger could take place.

“This is the top leadership of both unions sitting down, having a conversation. It’s not like we’re doing this every day,” Lewenza said.

‘What’s in it for the CAW? Strength in numbers.’- CAW president Ken Lewenza
But those discussions may take on a more serious tone in early 2012.

“We anticipate putting a couple days aside in the next five or six weeks to see if, in fact, we have common objectives and common goals,” Lewenza said.

The unions are two of the biggest in Canada – the CAW has nearly 200,000 members and the CEP has about 125,000 coast to coast.

The talks over a possible merger were born out of a casual conversation at a national labour council meeting.

“It was not one side or the other reaching out to one another. It was just based on a general conversation that has led to some formal discussions,” Lewenza said.

The CAW topped out with approximately 265,000 members not more than a decade ago. But the manufacturing sector has shed thousands of jobs the last few years, particularly in the auto sector in southwestern Ontario.

“What’s in it for CAW members? Strength in numbers,” Lewenza said. “It’s pretty clear the labour movement must unify its resources and unify its desire to better represent our members. The reality is workers need a strong union today more than ever.”

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