Union president outlines challenges facing members

Concessions dismissed, pattern bargaining trumpeted
By Lorna Harris
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 12/18/2008

Delegates to the annual convention of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), held in Montreal in late October, heard a no-holds-barred address from union president Dave Coles.

In his keynote address to the 1,500 attendees, Coles called his members the “Olympic champions of the labour movement” for their ability to withstand the severe punches the economy has thrown at many of the union’s members. He noted the challenges faced by workers and union organizers in the face of the serious downturn in the forest industry “where about 20 per cent of the Canadian pulp and paper capacity has closed” in the past two years and added, “Look around this room and imagine 25 more of these round tables.”

Calling on the government to intervene in this sector, Coles argued as well for the introduction of stiffer regulations in the energy and communications sectors, the other main areas his union represents.