PITTSBURGH, PA, Aug. 29, 2017 /CNW/ - Leaders of the U.S. union United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) and Unifor signed a cooperation agreement to change and renew the North American labor movement, based on shared values and commitment to aggressive struggle, equity and political independence.
"Working people in the United States, like working people in Canada, are confronted by rising inequality and a political establishment that refuses to confront that inequality head-on," said UE General President Peter Knowlton. "Our members know that the divisive, right-wing 'populism' of Trump will not bring them the healthcare, good jobs and education that our communities need. We need a new labor movement in North America that will fight for all workers."
By this Cooperation Agreement, the UE and Unifor declare its solidarity and working relationship through the "UE-Unifor North American Solidarity Project." Both Unifor and UE agreed that North American workers need unions that can reverse decades of decline and organize, speak and act for the new working class — organized and nonunionized. Workers need unions that will resist concessionary and two-tier bargaining that divides workers. There was also agreement that unions must build effective solidarity through a full and comprehensive commitment to equity, democracy and militant action. The solidarity project also stated that strong independent political action must break the pattern of unions giving their support to political parties and politicians that neglect, minimize and compromise workers' interests.
"The best way to make progress for working people at the bargaining table is to link our bargaining demands to demands for social progress," says Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "An attack on one is an attack on all. And we will all stand strong when we stand against racism and with women, immigrants and refugees and our LGBTQ communities."
UE and Unifor have mutual interests in organizing and bargaining with General Electric and other manufacturing companies. Both UE and Unifor strive to be a union for everyone, private sector and public sector and are reaching out to organize and fight for vulnerable and precarious workers, The unions have proud histories of fighting against discrimination and for equity and are committed to strengthening this work.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.