March 15-17, 2012 http://www.newunionproject.ca
The CAW-CEP Proposal Committee examining the potential for forming a new Canadian union held its second meeting in Ottawa on March 15-17. The committee is composed of eight leaders from each union, and is co-chaired by the two unions’ National Secretary-Treasurers (Peter Kennedy for the CAW, and Gaétan Ménard for the CEP).
At its second meeting, the Proposal Committee reviewed detailed comparisons of the two unions’ current organizing, political campaigns, and educational programs. It also held detailed discussions on the possible governance structures of a new union.
Regarding the structure of a new union, the Proposal Committee agreed on a statement of broad structural principles that they believe should be reflected in the structure and constitution of any new union. This statement is attached below, and will be distributed for further discussion among both unions. As it concluded its second meeting, the Proposal Committee agreed to undertake further discussions and research on the best structure for a new union.
The Proposal Committee also decided to undertake a program of outreach and consultation to union members about the new union process. To this end, the two unions will host a series of joint regional meetings, inviting local union leaders and activists to discuss the goals and principles of a new union. These joint meetings will be held in several cities across Canada in coming months; the schedule for these meetings will be announced as soon as dates and locations are confirmed.
Gaétan Ménard, CEP Secretary-Treasurer, said that the Proposal Committee is working very constructively through the agenda of issues facing the two unions. “I am delighted by the progress the Committee has already made in its first two meetings,” Ménard said. “There is a tremendous work ethic, and tremendous goodwill, around the table.”
CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy also reported positively on the Committee’s first sessions. “There are many organizational and financial issues that must be addressed in forming a new union, and this Committee is working through them productively and constructively.”
The two co-chairs noted that while each union has its own unique history and culture, the two unions share many similarities. The more the Proposal Committee examines and compares the details of our current structures, the co-chairs noted, the more similarities they have discovered.
The Proposal Committee plans to meet again in late May. Its mandate is to investigate the possibility of forming a new union, and then present a report and recommendations to the upcoming constitutional conventions of the two unions (the CAW’s convention in Toronto in August, and the CEP’s in Quebec City in October). Those conventions must approve any proposal to form a new union, before any subsequent steps are taken.