TORONTO – The Canadian Auto Workers union kicked off its constitutional and collective bargaining convention in Toronto on Monday with songs, a procession of more than 400 retired autoworkers carrying signs and an opening speech from national president Ken Lewenza.
During the convention, members will vote on a proposal to merge with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, a move that key players have said would revitalize the labour movement.
The CAW kicked off contract talks with the big U.S. automakers GM, Ford and Chrysler last week.
The CAW, which made concessions to wages, vacation time and other benefits when the U.S. automakers were struggling during the 2008-09 recession, has said it wants to share in the profits now that the industry has rebounded.
The automakers have said their focus during the negotiations will be to improve competitiveness at their Canadian operations, where labour costs are higher than in the U.S.