CAW, CEP merge to form Unifor

New union to 'open doors to new kinds of membership'
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/18/2013

UNIFOR. That’s the new name of the union formed by the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), representing more than 300,000 workers in more than 20 different sectors.

The new name — and logo — were voted on by the national executive boards of CAW and CEP on May 28 and 29.

Unifor is not just another union but a new union, with a new approach to be a strong voice for working people in all sectors and all jobs, said Peter Kennedy, CAW national secretary-treasurer and new union proposal committee co-chair.

“We both have our own long histories of struggle, fights that have gone back over decades. We have our own cultures, our own unique way of doing things, but we’re coming together in a new organization that will do things in a new, innovative, modern way that has not happened previously within the labour movement,” he said.

The bigger, better union will open its doors to new kinds of membership, said Gaétan Ménard, CEP national secretary-treasurer and new union proposal committee co-chair.

“We will redefine who can join the union… We will open our doors to each and every group in this country that has an action plan… unionized or not, they can join us and we will make that action plan happen,” he said.

“We’re going to be stronger and more united when it comes to meeting political and economic challenges.”

The new union is modern, forward-looking and welcoming to everyone, said Dave Coles, national president of CEP.

“It’s a name to show that we are here to build a union for the future, one that is responsive to the needs of all Canadians in the 21st century.”

Logo symbolic

The red-and-white logo uses colours that are vibrant and symbolic, he said.

“We have chosen a shield, a shield to represent us. This shield shows the strength, the protection and the security our union will offer.”

The national founding convention for Unifor will be held on Labour Day weekend. Altogether, it will comprise 800 local unions in 3,000 bargaining units, said CAW national president Ken Lewenza.

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

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