CAW, CEP may merge

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) President Ken Lewenza. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) President Ken Lewenza. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

The country's biggest union may be about to get bigger.

The Canadian Auto Workers, with more than 200,000 members, is considering a merger with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

The executive boards of the two organizations have agreed on a timeline to explore the possibility of creating a new union as soon as mid-2013, the unions said in a news release Tuesday.

"Our movement cannot afford a business-as-usual approach in light of the attacks we face from both business and government," said CAW national president Ken Lewenza. "We need to combine our resources, and use them more effectively, if we are to protect Canadian jobs and push for greater equality in this incredibly hostile economic environment."

Any union of the two unions would have to work out issues like dues and leadership structure. A committee will issue a report on the feasibility of the merger by August.

If it goes ahead, the CAW's members from aerospace, mining, fishing, airlines, manufacturing and shipbuilding, among other sectors, would combine with CEP's 130,000 workers in forestry, energy, telecommunications and media.

The CAW is the largest private-sector union in Canada.