CWA President Larry Cohen, left, administers
the oath of office to CWA Canada
Director Arnold Amber.
28 July 2010
Canadian Region moves to top level
It was a pinnacle moment that met with
wild applause Monday when CWA Canada acquired full status
on its international parent union's executive.
The nearly unanimous show of hands among the more than 1,000
delegates to the 72nd convention of the Communications Workers
of America gave the Canadian Region a vote, in addition to
the seat it already had on the board.
An agreement forged at the July 2006 convention
(and ratified later that year by members) saw creation of
the Canadian Region of CWA, with full autonomy for all finances,
governance, policy and operational decisions.
Arnold Amber, director of the national union since its inception,
says the Canadian delegation went into this year's convention
prepared to argue its case for the constitutional amendment
that would make CWA Canada a full-fledged member of the international
"Over the years, having a Canadian serving on the executive
led to the disappearance of any opposition to granting the
union a vote. The amendment sailed through without a peep
of protest," says Amber.
"This was the last major step in gaining for Canadian
members a status equal to that of their counterparts" in
the largest and most respected communications union in North
While complete administrative and financial control switched
from Washington to Ottawa on Jan. 1, 2007, the Canadian union
continues to participate in a number of programs such as
the CWA Defense Fund (helps Locals with the financial burden
of defending their contracts and dealing with disputes) and
the Members' Relief Fund (provides strike or lockout pay).
CWA Canada, with some 9,000 members, pays its own way and
contributes more than $250,000 annually to help sustain the
larger union, which has more than half a million members.
Another constitutional amendment approved on Monday will
see the CWA hold conventions every other year, rather than
annually. In conjunction with that change, terms of office
will now be four instead of three years.