Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fourth Report of the CAW-CEP New Union Proposal Committee

The Proposal Committee established by the CAW and the CEP to develop a plan for a new national union held its fourth meeting in Toronto May 28. At this meeting the Committee continued to flesh out the proposed structure, finances, and organizing for the new union.
The Committee began considering a harmonized dues structure for a new union. At present the CEP collects dues according to a specified percentage of a member’s income, while the CAW collects dues on the basis of a certain number of hours pay per member per month. The Committee agreed that a harmonized percentage-based dues formula will be developed for the new union, but in a manner reflecting existing dues levels.
The Proposal Committee also agreed to increase the new union’s organizing budget to significantly more than is currently spent by the two unions. This will allow the new union to undertake an ambitious campaign to organize new members commencing immediately with its formation. Funding for union education programs will also be increased, and the new union will maintain a very strong strike defence fund.
At this meeting the Proposal Committee continued to develop its structural suggestions for the new union’s National Executive Board. The Committee agreed that the new NEB will consist of 25 members. The union would make a constitutional commitment that the number of women on the Board must be at least proportionate to the share of women in the new union’s membership. The Proposal Committee also agreed that the Board will include specified positions for racialized and indigenous workers; retired members; and skilled trades members.
Eleven positions on the new Board will be elected to represent major industries in which the new union will have a critical mass of membership and bargaining power. A strong majority of the Board (19 out of 25 positions) will be composed of rank-and-file leadership of the new union.
The Proposal Committee will meet again in June to continue discussions on structure, finances, and other details of their proposal. A schedule of joint regional meetings to report on the project and consult with local union leaders is continuing; upcoming meetings will occur in Quebec City and Regina. More information on these meetings is available from the joint web site on the new union,
The final report and recommendations of the Proposal Committee will be submitted to the CAW Convention in August 2012 and the CEP Convention in October of 2012. Only after delegates to the two conventions approve the plan to form a new union, would the formal steps then be taken to launch the new union.

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