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A letter from President Thomas on the future of the Canadian Labour Congress

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas wrote a letter to the leaders of Canada’s unions on Friday to propose some solutions to resolve the ongoing dispute between the Canadian Labour Congress and Unifor. Here is the text of the letter.

February 2, 2018

Dear Labour Leaders,

It has been said that we live in interesting times. And interesting times sometimes call for new approaches. The Canadian labour movement is, in my humble opinion, at a dangerous crossroads. That's why last week I suggested a meeting of the minds to resolve the current dispute involving Unifor, UNITE HERE and the CLC and its affiliates. I am now writing to put forth a specific recommendation. I propose the CLC immediately establish an independent Task Force, chaired by the President of the CLC, to fully examine Article 4 of the Constitution. I am suggesting there be two appointees to this committee, familiar with the labour movement but with no affiliate connection to it. As part of an agreed upon terms of reference, their findings and recommendations must be agreed upon as binding on the parties. In other words, a bona fide dispute resolution process. I further recommend that the participants reporting to the Task Force be inclusive:

  • Two participants representing public sector unions
  • Two from the private sector unions
  • One seat for UNIFOR, contingent upon their commitment to immediately cease raiding

Of course, if anyone has a better idea I would be happy to hear it. As labour leaders we cannot sit idly by and do nothing while the movement is in peril. It's time we act. Our members are counting on us.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU

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