SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION CANADA

SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION CANADA

September 02, 2005 14:51 ET

ALLIANCES HOLD KEY TO FUTURE OF LABOUR

SEIU Canada says organizing unions vital in modern economy Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 2, 2005) - Forming alliances and cooperation among unions when organizing workers holds the key to a bright future for the labour movement in Canada, says the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Canada.

"SEIU must forge alliances in Canada to create greater strength for workers in our target industries," says SEIU's International Canadian Vice-President Sharleen Stewart. "This is the key to effective union organizing in the future."

As an example, says Stewart, SEIU and the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU) are combining in their efforts in a current organizing drive. Like NSNU, SEIU is a health-care union, but with a majority of members working in acute care, long-term care and home care as dietary aides, health-care aides, maintenance and other ancillary service staff.

"If a union has significant strength in an industry, then it has more influence to generate improvements for all workers, unionized or not," she says. "By working together unions can ensure that the rising tide will lift all boats."

SEIU has been using this approach in Canada and the United States to great affect. Stewart says the culture of old-style labour unionism does not work for workers in today's economy. While there has been a general decline in union membership in the past two decades, the ranks of SEIU have grown substantially under the stewardship of International President Andrew Stern. Adding more than 900,000 members since 1995, SEIU is now North America's fastest-growing union.

Working with its Change to Win coalition partners in the U.S., SEIU is leading the way to reform labour.

"We must build strength for workers in our modern economy to effectively negotiate with multi-national corporations and governments," says SEIU's International Canadian Vice-President Sharleen Stewart. "The way we are gaining that strength is by representing majorities of workers in a given industries.

SEIU Canada represents 94,000 workers in health care, property services, brewing, and gaming. SEIU has more than 1.8 million members in North America.
IN: HEALTH, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Carl Mavromichalis, National Communications Coordinator
    Primary Phone: 416-951-4905
    Secondary Phone: 416-447-2311 ext. 243
    E-mail: mavromichalisc@seiu.ca