An impartial umpire, appointed under the constitution of the Canadian Labour Congress, has found the CAW guilty of raiding the members of SEIU in eight Ontario locals. On February 20 of this year, eight SEIU Canada local presidents announced their intention to disaffiliate from the SEIU and join the CAW. The SEIU lodged a charge of raiding against the CAW and on March 17, CLC President Ken Georgetti appointed arbitrator Victor Pathe to act as impartial umpire in the dispute.
Since the CAW has been found guilty, many discussions involving the CLC and the two unions have taken place in an effort to find a mutually acceptable solution one that recognizes the democratic rights of the membership and respects the sanctity of the CLC constitution. To date no solution has been found and we have come to the stage where full sanctions on the CAW will be applied. As of July 1, the CAW, will no longer be able to participate in any of the activities or leadership bodies of the CLC and any of its chartered organizations (including federations of labour and labour councils).
Imposing full sanctions on the CAW is particularly difficult for CUPE. We have built a very close working relationship with the CAW and its members and staff. We have fought side by side for the protection and extension of public services. At the same time, we believe that the no-raiding provisions in the constitution of the Canadian Labour Congress must be respected and upheld.
We encourage all members and staff to continue to work with the CAW members in the cause of social justice through coalitions or in common fights against regressive governments. We encourage you to do whatever you can to persuade the CAW to change its course. We do not believe in creating separate labour councils, federations of labour or labour congresses. On the contrary, we should be re-doubling our efforts to strengthen existing labour bodies.
Bringing the CAW back into the house of labour is clearly what we must all strive for, while at the same time staunchly upholding the provisions of the constitution with the goal that such a situation never arises again.
I am personally committed to continue to do whatever I can as a member of the CLC Executive Committee and president of Canadas largest union to find a negotiated resolution to this crisis that will allow us to rebuild and strengthen the labour movement. We need solidarity and unity in action to take on employers and governments like never before.