OTTAWA (April 20) — The United Steelworkers union has entered into a formal exploration process that could result in the formation of the world´s biggest union and the first Trans-Atlantic trade organization.
At a ceremony held April 18 in Ottawa as part of the Steelworkers´ Canadian National Policy Congress, representatives of the USW and the United Kingdom-based Amicus and Transportation & General Workers unions signed an accord to set up a merger exploration committee which will be tasked with laying down a foundation for a legal merger within one year.
The new union would represent more than 3.4 million members in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland, a USW new release said. It would be expected to attract other union organizations throughout the world into membership, the Pittsburgh-based USW said.
Amicus and the T&GWU will join together as one union after May 1. That organization will be based in London and be called Unite. Amicus and the USW entered a strategic alliance two years ago.
During the exploration process, the unions will engage in coordinated campaigning and common approaches to collective bargaining with multinational companies, the USW said.
The unions said they "are committed to investigating ways in which cooperation and collaboration between our two organizations can be deepened and strengthened. Combining the political and industrial strength of our two unions will achieve greater success for our members than standing apart."
The USW represents about 850,000 members in the U.S. and Canada, of which about 70,000 are rubber and plastics industry workers, a USW spokesman said.