February 24, 2005 09:00 ET


SEIU Local 2.on builds industry strength for members Attention: Business/Financial Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 24, 2005) - Brewery, General and Professional Workers' Union (BGPWU), a union with a rich 103 year history, has voted unanimously to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) creating another industry powerhouse within Ontario, the two unions announced today.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome the brewery workers to the SEIU family," says Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Canadian International Vice-President. "This merger will create a new local union focusing on the specific needs of private-sector workers in Ontario."

Officially called SEIU Local 2.on, Brewery, General and Professional Workers, the new 6,000 member local, made up of 3,000 BGPWU members and approximately 3,000 private-sector workers from SEIU Local1.on.

"SEIU offered us the greatest opportunity to meet the needs of our members and to grow, while allowing us to retain our unique history and culture within a much larger and stronger union," says Cam Nelson, president of the new Local 2.on. "This process started last May. We had discussions with seven of Canada's largest and strongest unions and we chose SEIU.

"We were excited by the prospect of putting together a union which could focus on building strength in the industrial and allied sector of the economy in the same way that SEIU Local 1.on continues to do with health care."

Nelson says another decisive element was his union's support for SEIU International President Andrew Stern's vision for redefining the labour movement on a global basis in order to deal more effectively with employers who have gone international.

The new local will represent security guards, municipal, manufacturing, building service, restaurant, hotel, food service, cemetery workers in addition to brewery and bottling workers across Ontario.

The merger comes less than one year after SEIU successfully combined six locals in Ontario into a powerhouse of 40,000 members, 38,000 of whom work in health care.

"The industry strength model gives our members unparalleled power to negotiate and organize within their sectors," says Stewart, who is also president of Local 1.on. "SEIU is now poised for dramatic growth in Ontario with these two locals."

As one of Canada's oldest unions, the BGPWU has a rich history which reaches back to 1902. It has its roots in the brewing industry, but has expanded to represent employees in a wide variety of industries and occupations, including most industrial sectors, municipal employees, and jobs as diverse as employees in legal clinics and representative of other unions.

SEIU Canada, founded in 1943, represents over 93,000 workers from coast to coast. It is the autonomous Canadian wing of SEIU International, which is North America's largest Union. SEIU International represents more than 1.8 million members worldwide.


Media Contacts:

Sharleen Stewart, Canadian International Vice-President, SEIU, 416-209-7741

Cam Nelson, President, SEIU Local 2.on, Brewery, General and Professional Workers, 416-801-1273

Carl Mavromichalis, SEIU National Communications, 416-951-4905
/For further information: Sharleen Stewart, Canadian International Vice-President, SEIU, 416-209-7741 Cam Nelson, President, SEIU Local 2.on, Brewery, General and Professional Workers, 416-801-1273 / IN: FOOD, HEALTH, LABOUR, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Carl Mavromichalis, National Communications Coordinator
    Primary Phone: 416-951-4905
    Secondary Phone: 416-447-2311 ext. 243