·  Rabble.ca

Telecommunication Union to Merge with Steelworkers

By Ella Bedard, Rabble

November 7th, members of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) voted 73.7 per cent in favour of joining the United Steelworkers (USW).

As North America's largest private sector union, with more than 225,000 Canadian members, the USW has a lot to offer the substantially smaller TWU, which represents 12,000 telecommunication workers from across Canada.

"In the end we interviewed 4 different unions and the committee they presented to ultimately unanimously recommended the United Steelworkers," said TWU President Lee Riggs. "This merger will help us improve the working lives of our members."

In the face of declining union density, legislative attacks on labour, and increasing financial pressures, union mergers have become a popular tactic for union rejuvenation in the Canadian labour movement, the argument being that there is strength in numbers -- and pooled resources. Last year two of Canada's largest private sector unions, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), entered into an historic merger forming Unifor, now Canada's largest private sector union.

This will become the USW's 19th merger in recent years, but "its not just about numbers," said Steelworker's President Ken Neumann. "For each and every time that we've had a merger I can honestly and truly say that we become a better organization for the numbers coming in and the numbers that we represent, and I truly believe that there's nothing about this merger. They're basically in many places where we are and that will help us mobilize even further in those communities."

With the members gained from the TWU, the Steelworkers have now doubled their membership in federally regulated industries. But in addition to gaining clout in a new sector and within the labour movement, Neumann says that what the USW really stands to gain is greater diversity and energy in their membership.

Complete article on Rabble.ca

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