The Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union are considering merging. According to the CAW-CEP Discussion Paper:
After two decades of fighting mostly defensive battles against the pressures of globalization, employer aggression, hostile government policy, and public cynicism, the trade union movement in Canada faces an enormous and historic moment of truth.
The CEP-CAW New Union DiscussionProcess Protocol & Timetable states that the "purpose of the New Union Discussion process to develop and agree upon the main principles of a new Canadian union, with a new identity and structure." While acknowledging that a bigger union doesn't equate with a better union, the Protocol calls for something innovative and different:
The formation of a new union must be founded on a desire and willingness to modernize our practices,to innovate with new models of organizing and servicing, and to rebuild our image with workers.
In terms of timing, it seems that they will report to the respective conventions of CAW (in August, 2012) and of CEP (in October, 2012).
The merger of these two unions would result in a combined membership of more than 320,000 and establish the largest private labour union.
As you'd expect with such a huge story, there's lots of press:
- CAW, CEP talk possible merger by mid-2013
- CAW, CEP unions exploring merger
- Unions must change quickly to survive, says secret report by CEP/CAW
- CAW, CEP hold merger talks
- CAW, CEP unions considering merger Marriage would create largest in private labour
- CAW and CEP to Begin Talks on New Union
- Two major Canadian unions, CAW and CEP, exploring merger by mid-2013