USW, Unions in Canada and Europe Explore ‘Super-Union’
(Akron/Tire Review) Globalisation is happening everywhere. On April 18 the United Steelworkers (USW), Amicus and the Transportation & General Workers Union (T&GWU) of the United Kingdom began considering a possible merger, one that would create a labour union covering four countries and some 3.4 million members.
Representatives of the three trade unions – representing workers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland – signed an agreement in Ottawa establishing a merger committee. Within one year, the committee is expected to develop merger plans to create one super-union.
USW said the deal follows a “strategic alliance” between Amicus and the USW two years ago. Further, Amicus and T&GWU will already merge May 1, creating Unite, a union with some 2 million members. By contrast, the USW claims 850,000 members.
“One of the main reasons for the merger between Amicus and the T&GWU was our desire to create an international trade union that would be able to deal with multinational companies on an equal footing,” said Amicus general secretary Derek Simpson. “Coming as it does hot on the heels of our mergers, today’s announcement demonstrates the resonance that the idea of a global super union has.”
“The time for global unionism has arrived,” claimed USW president Leo Gerard, “We need cross-border organising strategies to protect workers against the mobility of capital that knows no borders. Workers want their unions to develop labor contracts that encompass global employers. We must meet the challenge and defend human rights standards for all.”