The Canadian Auto Worker's union has more than two hundred thousand members across the country and is Canada's largest private sector union. It started in 1985 after breaking as the Canadian branch of the international United Auto Workers union when they started differing in opinion from their American counterparts. While the name suggests that you need to be an employee of a car manufacturer to be a part of this group, there are actually those that work in everything from air travel to a manufacturing plants that subscribe to this union. Here is a little more about its history and members.
The former name of the organization was the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada. This better exemplifies all of the different working fields that they are able to cover with their services, from those working in hospitality to selling auto products (like this company, perhaps.) The company is rooted in the large auto manufacturing plants in and around cities like Windsor, Oakville, and Brampton and their expansion is quite recent, since the split from UAW. Members of the group now include the employees of Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Bombardier, the Halifax Shipyard, Nestle Enterprises, and Air Canada. General manufacturing firms actually have the majority of members in terms of number of companies in that sector.
You might be surprised to find out that when you are shopping for supplies or booking a hotel that you might also be working with members of this union. Sears, No Frills, Marriot Hotels, and some Radisson Hotel locations are also a part of this union. There are even more than a dozen health care providers.
It is in the CAW mandate that they exist not only to promote quality working environments and help their members when bargaining is needed, but they also seek to do what they can for the country's economy, politics and social issues. Because they are so involved in many of our nation's top businesses, they have the power to affect everything and seek to do so in a positive way.