Telecommunications Workers Union and Steelworkers reach tentative merger deal

TORONTO – The Telecommunications Workers Union and the United Steelworkers said Thursday they have reached a tentative agreement to merge.

“This is a merger about better bargaining power, about better service to members and about a strong voice for telecommunication workers,” TWU national president Lee Riggs said in a statement.

The proposed combination will now be reviewed by the TWU national executive council and voted on by the union’s membership.

The TWU represents close to 13,000 employees at Telus (TSX:T), Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) and other companies, while the Steelworkers represents 225,000 workers.

The unions, which have been part of a strategic alliance since 2010, said the agreement includes strong commitments to support bargaining, membership education, legislative action and recruitment.

“Together we’ve built an innovative, flexible merger agreement that blends the best of both of our unions,” USW national director Ken Neumann said.

If approved, the combination would be the second largest labour merger in Canada this year.

The Canadian Auto Workers and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada are set to consummate their merger this weekend.

Unifor, the name of the combined CAW and CEP union, will hold its founding convention in Toronto.

The union will initially represent more than 300,000 workers across roughly 20 sectors of the economy, primarily in manufacturing, communications and transportation, as well as some public sector employees in the health, education and transit sectors.