November 12, 2012 - 3:15 PM
November 12, 2012
The Proposal Committee established by the CAW and the CEP to develop a plan for a new Canadian union held its sixth meeting in Toronto last week. This was its first meeting after the strong endorsements that were given to the New Union proposal at the recent conventions of both organizations.
The Proposal Committee agreed to organize a founding convention for the New Union, to take place in Toronto on the Labour Day weekend, 2013.
The convention will begin on Friday, August 30, and conclude on September 1. This will allow delegates of the new union to participate behind their new banner in the next day’s Labour Day parades (in Toronto and other communities across Canada).
The founding convention will need to approve the constitution of the new union, approve its name and logo, and elect its first leaders (including three national officers, three regional directors; and the first members of the inaugural National Executive Board).
The Proposal Committee also suggested locations for the first meetings of the new union’s Canadian Council (the body which will gather together delegates from across the union in years when there is no full convention). The first meetings of the Canadian Council would occur in Vancouver in 2014, and in Montreal in 2015. (In the absence of the New Union, the CEP’s next convention would occur in Vancouver in 2014, and the CAW’s in Montreal in 2015; this timetable will allow the new union to avoid cancellation fees for convention facilities in those locations.)
The Proposal Committee also began the process of establishing the six Working Groups described in the plan approved at the two conventions. These Working Groups include Communications; Constitution; Implementation; Organizing; Staff Relations; and Convention Planning. The Working Groups will each hold their first meetings before the end of this year.
The crucial issue of the new union’s name and logo will be determined on the basis of a scientific process overseen by the Communications Working Group. This process will include consultation with media and design experts; professional testing; and consultation with members of the two unions. The Proposal Committee’s report was clear that the new union’s name must emphasize its values and mission, not the sectoral make-up of its membership.
The Proposal Committee consists of eight senior leaders from each union, and is co-chaired by the Secretary-Treasurers of the two unions: Gaétan Ménard for the CEP, and Peter Kennedy for the CAW.
“Launching the new union on Labour Day weekend is fitting and symbolic,” said Kennedy. “Marching behind our new banner will be an electrifying beginning for an organization that will inject new energy and hope into the labour movement.”
“The first three national gatherings of the new union will occur in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. This is a vivid demonstration of the inclusive, nationwide character of our new organization,” said Ménard. “Our new union will have unprecedented scope and power, in every region of Canada, and virtually every major industry.”
The first phase of the New Union project, culminating in the approval of the idea by the CAW and CEP conventions, featured an unprecedented degree of public transparency and membership consultation. The Proposal Committee pledged to continue that practice through to the founding convention. It plans to hold extensive regional consultations with local CAW and CEP leaders and members this spring – in particular to get input and feedback on the union’s name and identity, and its constitution.
The Proposal Committee will meet again in March to review the progress of the Working Groups.
Full reports on the New Union project, including the complete report of the Proposal Committee (“Towards a New Union”) are posted on a dedicated joint website, newunionproject.ca.