Telecommunications Workers Union and United Steelworkers Begin Merger Process


BURNABY, BC and TORONTO, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The 13,000-member Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) and the United Steelworkers (USW) have commenced merger talks.

"I am pleased that our union's local leaders from across Canada have voted for us to work toward a merger with the USW that will improve the working lives of our members and their families," said TWU National President Lee Riggs.

"This is a great step forward and there is real excitement about the prospects. There is a real sense of unity in our union today following the vote of our delegates to start merger talks with the USW," Riggs said.

"We are excited about what we can build together with the TWU," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"We'll communicate our shared, positive vision for the labour movement: global, outward-looking, and focused on concrete action. We are optimistic about the future and we're honoured to work with the TWU," Neumann said.

Discussions between the two unions aim to yield a tentative merger agreement that will be brought to all TWU members for approval in a democratic referendum vote this fall.

The two unions intend the merger agreement to include strong, mutual commitments in bargaining, education, organizing and legislative action.

"In this merger process, each and every TWU member has a vote. This will build a better union for every member. And with the USW's extensive international network of allies and resources, our newly merged union can become a global leader in the telecommunications sector," Riggs and Neumann said in a joint statement.

Merger process details

  • Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU): 13,000 members across Canada working for TELUS, Shaw and other employers.
  • United Steelworkers (USW): 225,000 members across Canada in a widely diverse range of sectors.
  • The TWU and the USW have shared a formal strategic alliance since 2010.
  • In early March 2013, the TWU established a Merger Selection Committee composed of members of its National Executive Council and local union leaders.
  • The committee conducted a comprehensive assessment process of eight major unions in Canada, then made a short list of four unions and conducted lengthy interviews with each.
  • The committee unanimously recommended to the National Executive Council that the USW was the best merger partner for the TWU.
  • Based on the unanimous recommendation from the Merger Selection Committee, the TWU National Executive Council presented a motion to begin merger talks with the USW to the TWU Policy Convention, which was held May 6-10, 2013 in Calgary.
  • Convention delegates voted to support the National Executive Council's motion to start merger talks with the USW.
  • The motion passed by convention delegates contemplates that the merger agreement will be brought to TWU members in a referendum vote.

The Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) has a proud 69-year history of representing communications workers and workers in related fields. We represent 13,000 members across Canada who work for telecommunications companies like TELUS and Shaw Communications, as well as workers in related fields.

The United Steelworkers (USW) is a diverse private-sector union with 225,000 members working in every region and economic sector in Canada.

SOURCE: Telecommunications Workers Union

For further information:

Lee Riggs, TWU National President, 604-437-8601
Ken Neumann, USW Canadian National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, (416) 434-2221,

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