Canadian Auto Workers CEP join forces to create Canadian megaunion

A second union approved plans to create Canada’s biggest private sector union in a vote on Monday, promising to revitalize the labor movement with a merger between the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).Delegates at a CEP convention in Quebec City approved a 45-page blueprint for a new union that will boast more than 300,000 members, leaving representatives of the two unions with the task of naming the new union and determining how it will work.CAW members approved the outline plan in August.We have a lot of work ahead of us to bring our two organizations together and to consummate this marriage of two hell raisers made in heaven“We have a lot of work ahead of us to bring our two organizations together and to consummate this marriage of two hell raisers made in heaven,” CAW secretary-treasurer Peter Kennedy told a news conference announcing the vote.[np-related]Leaders of both unions have pitched the merger as a way to shore up the labor movement in the face of growing pressure for concessions and the increasing willingness of governments to intervene in labor disputes, often to the benefit of management.Organizers promise to increase the size of the union, which will accept unemployed and retired workers and expects to merge with other smaller unions in Canada in the future.“We have to be relevant and this brings us right down to the grass roots of every community,” CEP national president Dave Coles told the news conference.“There are unions right across this country that are following this…I can also say that the world’s watching…”MORE WORK AHEADBut the current proposal leaves a number of potentially divisive issues open, including who will lead the new organization, what it will be called, and which political party it will support.The CEP is closely tied to Canada’s opposition New Democrats, while the CAW takes a more pragmatic approach, supporting Liberal candidates where appropriate.The vote gives a team of union officials the go-ahead to hammer out details like these, ahead of a joint founding convention next year where members will formally approve a final plan.Coles and CAW national president Ken Lewenza would not say whether they will seek leadership of the new mega-union.The new union will span growing resource sectors such as Alberta’s oil sands, where the CEP is active, as well as central Canada’s ailing manufacturing economy.It will devote about 10% of its estimated $100-million annual revenue to organizing, twice the combined spend of the two unions.The CAW, formed in 1985 when Canadian car workers broke away from the U.S.-based United Auto Workers, wrapped up contract talks with Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Fiat SpA’s Chrysler Group LLC in September.But mergers and layoffs have changed the face of the union, and only about 20% of its members are now auto workers. Its top leadership, however, is still largely drawn from members who work for the Detroit automakers.The recession has hit industrial unions hard, and CAW membership – now 195,000 – is down 26% since 2005, according to documents released at its August convention.CEP’s membership has fallen more than 20% over five years, to about 110,000, according to government data.Canadian private and public sector unions have also come under pressure as the government several times pushed through back-to-work legislation, arguing that work stoppages could be damaging to an economy that only recently came out of recession.But Canadian private sector workers are still more than twice as likely to belong to a union than their U.S. counterparts, official statistics show.CAW members work at a number of major Canadian companies, including Air Canada Inc, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd and Canadian National Railway Co.CEP, itself the product of a series of mergers, organizes in the news media, natural resources companies, and in Western Canada’s expanding oil sands, It also represents workers at telecom giant BCE Inc among many other companies.© Thomson Reuters 2012 read more

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ISME propose tax and social welfare amnesty for black market operators

first_imgTHE ISME IS calling for government to introduce a tax and social welfare amnesty for those who are employed in Ireland’s black market.The Irish Small Firm and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) made their call when they met with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, believing that the amnesty would allow individuals to legitimise their “hidden economy” tax/earnings status.Following this, the ISME want government to adopt a  zero tolerance approach, along with tougher sanctions and harsher penalties for those who avoid taxes on goods and services.ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said that the group believe that the amount of taxes lost to the black economy is “conservatively estimated at €5bn, which would go a long way to reversing the current exchequer revenue shortfall.”“The ‘nixer’ culture, in particular, is very much alive and well and there has been a definite shift towards a ‘cash only’ shadow economy,” he said. This is particularly evident in the construction and maintenance sectors, where there are increased incidences of ‘jobs for cash’, completely undercutting legitimate companies, who in many instances report that potential clients are demanding that they pay ‘off the books’ to save VAT.The concerns of the ISME echo those of the Small Firms Association, who also believe that Ireland’s black market continues to pose “a very serious threat to the survival of many registered tax compliant businesses.”Twelve point planThe ISME yesterday presented its twelve point plan to the joint committee, which they hope will help end Ireland’d black market economy. In addition to the amnesty, it also includes:The development of an awareness/advertising campaign.A radical review of the current taxation and social welfare system to reduce the “tax wedge” that those in legitimate employment are subject to.The provision of tax incentives to home owners who use tax compliant, verifiable trades people.The introduction of container scanners at Irish ports where the volume of traffic justifies the required investment.The introduction of harsher judicial penalties for those caught operating in the black economy.A simplification of the often “onerous and complex” paperwork required to start a business.“The main challenge still is to bring shadow economy activities into the official economy, so that goods and services are still produced and provided at an economic cost while the government gets additional taxes and social security contributions,” said Fielding.Read: SFA warn of €6 billion cost of black economy, urge government action >last_img read more

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