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CEP and the Ontario Auto Sector

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There are noises that the CEP union will begin to grow larger again, this time more deeply into the auto industry sector. Their up-coming 7th national convention takes place in Vancouver, BC from Sunday October 15 through to Thursday October 19, 2006. Rumour has it that off-site hospitality suites may be arranged to host strategising sessions focussing on autoworker recruitment.



Although not mentioned in the convention flyer:


there have been rumbling about wholesale organising of the auto industry within the province of Ontario, Canada. All of this activity flows from the sudden, yet stupendously paralyzing strike waged against Ford of Canada at Oakville, Ont late in September, 2006 by the CEP and their Local 2003. Throughout North America, many auto-workers at their own plants and facilities have now sat up and taken notice. Workplaces have the news articles and press releases about the industrial action posted front and centre on their notice boards. The workers at Honda 1&2, Toyota N&S, as well as numerous parts operations in SW Ontario have now found CEP as a viable alternative to the CAW, whom they continuously abhor. Some US based facility workers are asking the CEP to move into the UAW territory as well.



Even within the CAW-organised vehicle assembly plants there are more unanswered questions about the quality of the current representation and their leadership. As the give-backs to the corporations increase, grumblings are growing louder about the inability of the CAW inplant reps to connect and identify with and the workers on the floor. Since the strike, more CAW production line workers are asking themselves and their coworkers - "Why doesn't my union have any balls?" and "Why are they opening up our contract over and over? and "Why can't we stick together?"



The CEP Ford Oakville strike opened a lot of eyes. Perhaps, once CEP organises the Asian based plants, the NA based plant membership will sign up too. As the CAW carries on celebrating themselves in a never ending cascade of high profile press releases, media outreaches and publicity stunts the CEP continues to grow and prosper. Workers looking to organise are coming to realise that since the CAW has left the NDP, the CEP has filled the void:


The CAW hasn't belonged to the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) for quite a while. Has the CAW finally lost sight of the autoworker struggle while the CEP appears ready to organise the unorganised on a finer, grander scale? The CEP Convention postmortem will reveal many juicy and succulent tidings!

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