CAW Elects New Slate to Lead the Union

    QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - CAW delegates gathered from across the
country in Quebec City have re-elected this afternoon Ken Lewenza as CAW
National President, Jean-Pierre Fortin as Quebec Director and elected Peter
Kennedy as National Secretary-Treasurer.
    Over the last year the union has now elected three new top officers
following the retirement of previous leadership.
    "Our new leadership team will bring great energy, experience and vision
to the many challenges our union faces," Lewenza said. "Part of these
challenges will be to reach out to all working people in every sector of the
economy, regardless of age, income, country of origin, language, religion,
gender or sexual orientation and ensure that the union is not only relevant,
but essential to the working lives of all people. That is our task for today
and every day going forward."
    Lewenza was first elected as National President on September 6, 2008 and
has led the union through emergency bargaining and the then possible
bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors, as well as bargaining with Air
Canada. Lewenza has been active in the labour movement since beginning at
Chrysler in 1972 and held a number of shop floor and local union positions at
CAW Local 444 in Windsor Ontario, before leading the local for 14 years.
    Peter Kennedy succeeds Jim O'Neil who ends his 18-year tenure as the
union's National Secretary-Treasurer. Kennedy first joined the staff of the
union as Education Director in 1989 and most recently held the post of
assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer for the last 17 years. In this role, he
oversaw the daily operations of the union as well as bargaining with General
Motors, CAMI (GM-Suzuki joint venture in Ingersoll, Ontario) and the aerospace
and electronics sectors of the union.
    Jean-Pierre Fortin was first elected Quebec Director on April 26 2008
with the retirement of Luc Desnoyers, now Bloc MP for the federal riding of
Rivière-des-Mille-Iles. Fortin joined the union's staff in 1990 after being a
union leader since the early 1970s at United Aircraft (now Pratt & Whitney).
Fortin held a position in the union's Organizing Department and later worked
as the Montreal Area Director before being elected Quebec Director.
    Early this afternoon, the three men were acclaimed by union delegates who
gathered in Quebec City this week for the union's 9th Constitutional
    Also elected to the union's National Executive Board were Christine
Connor, CAW Local 414 president in Milton, Ontario (representing 15,000 retail
and service sector workers across Ontario), Roland Kiehne, CAW Local 112
president, in Toronto (representing 3,000 workers in the aerospace, heavy
equipment and auto parts manufacturing sectors), Jean Van Vliet, CAW Local
3000 president in New Westminster (representing service sector workers) and
Nancy McMurphy, CAW Local 302 in London, Ontario (representing 5,500 health
care workers).
    The National Executive Board is the rank and file leadership body that
oversees the direction of the union.

For further information:

For further information: CAW Communications, Shannon Devine, (cell)
(416) 302-1699; John McClyment, (cell) (416) 315-3202 or Angelo DiCaro, (cell)
(416) 606-6311; For full biographies, please email Shannon Devine at:

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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