The sudden decision by Unifor’s National Executive Board (NEB) to disaffiliate from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) took many by surprise, including Unifor members.
Union democracy is key to building a militant, diverse and engaged labour movement. We cannot however, pretend to be fighting for the democratic rights of workers in American Unions while throwing the democratic rights of Unifor members under the bus.
Whether you support the decision to disaffiliate from the CLC or not, the NEB overstepped its Constitutional authority. Contrary to what we are being told now, the NEB did not have the authority to disaffiliate.
No consultation. No membership vote. No mandate. This decision was and is a clear violation of our democratic rights enshrined in the Unifor Constitution.
The Constitution is very clear when it comes to affiliation and disaffiliation from the CLC. Article 19.2 states that the NEB can only disaffiliate “subject to” approval at a Convention or Canada Council.
CLC disaffiliation, just like a Collective Agreement, is subject to a vote by the membership before it can come into effect. Skipping member approval of disaffiliation, just like skipping ratification of a Collective Agreement, doesn’t and shouldn’t count as a democratically legitimate decision.
We encourage all members and locals who are concerned about the state of democracy in our own union to stay tuned to WeAreUnifor.ca to take action.
What We Can Do
- Sign the We Are Unifor democracy declaration. You’ll be joining a growing chorus of Unifor voices calling on the NEB to suspend its decision to disaffiliate from the CLC until the membership has an opportunity to vote on it, as per Article 19 of our Constitution.
- Get the decision reviewed. Our Constitution includes provisions to hold Unifor National leadership accountable through Article 18 of our Constitution. Ask your local to file a Request for a Review of Decision.
- Attend the upcoming Town Hall meetings. Unifor’s Regional Directors are hosting town halls this month with Unifor members in our communities about this decision. Ask them to restore democracy, to rescind the decision, and to allow the membership to vote on the issue.
- Speak out publicly in support of democracy in our union. Like and follow We Are Unifor on Facebook and Twitter. And use the hashtag #WeAreUnifor on social media.
As proud members of a union with a long history of struggle, we deserve better!
We Are Unifor