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From meisenscher@igc.org Sun Mar 12 12:28:33 2000
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 23:25:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher@igc.org>
Article: 90989
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


Canadian members will decide their future, union says, in fact of U.S. union intimidation

CAW press release, 11 March 2000

TORONTO - In a move to intimidate approximately 30,000 Canadian members of the Service Employees International Union, the U.S.-based International SEIU placed eight locals under trusteeship late last night. But a vote of the Canadian members determining the issue will proceed, union representatives say.

"The International's actions are clearly designed to shut down the democratic process," added Ken Brown, former International Vice- President from Windsor-based Local 210. "We are moving ahead to vote March 2. This is about workers taking charge and determining as Canadians what they want."

This move comes after a decision last Sunday by over 100 elected leadership from the eight locals who unanimously endorsed a move to disaffiliate from the U.S.-based union and join the Canadian Auto Workers. The next day in community meetings across Ontario, the leadership's decision was supported by over 800 local elected representatives from the eight locals. The decision to merge with the CAW ultimately rests with the 30,000 members in votes to be held March 2 in cities and towns across Ontario.

Local leadership supporting the CAW were disappointed by the U.S. union's heavy-handed approach.

Dave Eales, former President of SEIU Local 220 (London) with a membership of 12,000 said, "There is enormous support for joining the CAW amongst my membership. I was hoping the International would show respect and not interfere in our basic right to decide our destiny as Canadians."

"As health care workers, the vast majority of our membership are deeply affected by the Canadian health care crisis," said Laura McWaters, Local 183 from Belleville. We have to be able to respond to the reality in Canada if we are to properly represent our members. The CAW is the right choice for us. The overwhelming response this week has been 'do it now'."

The racetrack sector of the Ontario SEIU membership led by Brett Goodall, Local 528 has watched the CAW gaming sector and his members are supporting the move. "My membership wants the CAW - no more dues going to the U.S."

CAW president Buzz Hargrove said, "Instead of coming down hard, the U.S.-based union must recognize Canadian workers' rights to decide their own future. It's an issue of democracy and the right of workers to belong to the union of their choice."

"Our membership, on hearing of the International's actions is really outraged. They want the CAW," said Michael Phillips, former president of Local 777.