USW, TWU merger vote falls short

The unions will maintain their strategic alliance, which they've shared since 2010.

TORONTO – The planned merger between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) will not proceed after a merger vote fell short.

“Voting results released Friday show 64.4% of TWU members across Canada have voted in favour of a merger with the USW. However, the TWU constitution requires that a merger be approved by 66 2/3% of members, which is a very high threshold to meet,” said USW’s Canadian director Ken Neumann.

The TWU and USW have shared a strategic alliance since 2010. In August of this year, the two unions reached a tentative merger agreement, which was followed by two months of consultation by the TWU with its members and a rank-and-file vote held over the last two weeks.

“We share the sentiments expressed by TWU national president Lee Riggs, in that we are disappointed with the results of this vote, but we also understand the constitutional requirements faced by the TWU,” Neumann said. “We will maintain our close strategic alliance with the TWU and build on our bonds of solidarity and our mutual commitment for a better future for our respective members across Canada.”

Over the weekend, USW reached a tentative deal with Canfor for forest workers in BC’s interiour.

The five-year deal would provide pay increases, adjusted trade rates, health and welfare benefit improvements, improved collective agreement language and provisions to secure the union’s pension plan.