Unifor splits with Canadian Labour Congress over workers' right to choose union

The largest private sector union in Canada says it is splitting with the Canadian Labour Congress over issues which include disagreements about the rights of workers to choose what union should represent them.

In a letter to the CLC, Unifor national president Jerry Dias and Quebec director Renaud Gagne say the congress has also been less than supportive of their concern about American-based unions ``trampling on the rights'' of workers.

The letter says the national executive board voted unanimously Tuesday to discontinue Unifor's membership in the CLC effective immediately.

In a separate letter to CLC president Hassan Yussuff posted on Unifor's website, Dias says Unifor's request to join a CLC committee studying the issue of workers' rights to switch unions has been ignored, adding it's ``unfathomable'' that the largest private-sector union wouldn't be part of that work.

He also charges that the CLC has failed to deal with two instances of U.S.-based unions interfering in elections for Canadian local leadership.

In a statement, the CLC's largest public union member, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, called on the two organizations to patch up their differences, vowing to continue to work with other CLC affiliates to defend members' interests.