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OPSEU seeks to repair rift between Unifor and Canadian Labour Congress

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Ontario’s largest public sector union wants to take the lead in repairing the relationship between Unifor and the Canadian Labour Congress after a recent spat over the right of workers to choose which union represents them.

In a letter released Monday, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says OPSEU is in a unique position to help Canada’s largest private sector union and the national lobby group for Canada’s labour movement find common ground because OPSEU has previously fought for changes to the congress.

He says he was deeply disappointed by Unifor’s mid-January decision to leave the congress immediately after its request to join a congress committee studying the ability of workers to switch unions was ignored.

He says he understands both sides, but believes Unifor national president Jerry Dias has raised many valid points and does not deserve to be brushed off.

Thomas met with Dias and congress president Hassan Yussuff last week in Montreal to try to repair their relationship, but says he’s unsure whether the discussion will be enough to unite them.

To address their issues, Thomas wants Unifor to commit to abandoning any future plans to raid other unions for members and participate in the establishment of a constitutional review committee.

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