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A New Kind of Union
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A New Kind of Union

Unifor and the birth of the modern Canadian union

By Fred Wilson

$24.95 Paperback
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$12.95 Ebook
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In fall 2011, the leaders of two of Canada's largest unions made a bold decision that would change the Canadian labour movement. Unions faced hostile governments, union busting corporations and declining membership. Something drastic needed to be done.

This book describes the unique process by which the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) decided not just to merge but to create a new union that would be more democratic, more inclusive and more powerful. And how, two years later, a new union with a new name was founded.

Unifor has been a source of optimism and inspiration that unions can adapt to changing times and be a relevant voice for workers in twenty-first Century workplaces, and in politics. But to do that, Unifor had to be a new kind of union that would act differently. Here is the inside story.


Foreword by Jerry Dias

Foreword by Peter Kennedy


  1. A Moment of Truth
  2. Towards a New Union: The Proposal Committee Debates
  3. A Union for Everyone
  4. Unifor
  5. Canada’s Union

Afterword: Looking Back on A Moment of Truth by Jim Stanford

Appendix: The New Union Project Cast




In this fascinating account of the creation of UNIFOR, Fred Wilson skillfully weaves three perspectives into this tale of union renewal: that of a lifelong activist drawing on a wealth of experience and practical insight; that of an insider who was a key figure in the creation of this new kind of union; that of a visionary who understood the role that UNIFOR could play in meeting the larger challenge of labour renewal at a critical time for working women and men in Canada.

- Gregor Murray, Canada Research Chair on Globalization and Work, School of Industrial Relations

Unifor is a powerful new force in Canada's labour, social and political movements, and this is a riveting insider's account of the unique process that created the union and motivated its actions. A New Kind of Union explains the challenges facing the labour movement and Unifor's crucial role in opposing the Conservative assaults on democracy and worker rights. It is important also for its timely and urgent call for a wider social solidarity to counter the demagogic appeal of right wing populists seeking to exploit the frustrations of working people and to impose their intolerant and regressive agenda on us all.

- Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson, Council of Canadians

A very readable, enjoyable and instructive history of how two unions came together, put aside their egos, and built a new larger organization dedicated to "class unionism" for Canadian workers in the 21st Century. This story of union renewal in Canada should be read and debated not only in Canada, but south of the border as well. The workers' movement will be better off for it.

- Peter Knowlton, National President, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)

The emergence of Unifor has been a key catalyst in the revitalization of the Canadian labour movement after decades of stepped-up aggression from the corporate world. In this inspiring and well‒told account, long‒time progressive activist Fred Wilson tells the inside story of the hopes and dreams and battles that led to Unifor's creation.

- Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star columnist

Wilson clearly and logically lays out the towering obstacles Unifor faced, and the manner in which they were overcome ... A New Kind of Union will be of considerable interest to labour historians, institutional theorists, and, of course, leaders, staff, and rank‐and‐file activists.

- John Baglow Literary Review of Canada

FRED WILSON played a key organizing and planning role in the New Union Project, which culminated in the creation of Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union. He was the Director of Strategic Planning for Unifor during its first three years. Fred lives in Ottawa.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Date: 9th April 2019
ISBN: 9781459414235
Format: 9in x 6in
20+ b&w photographs

Binding: Electronic book text, 256 pages
Publication Date: 9th April 2019
ISBN: 9781459414242
Format: EPUB
20+ b&w photographs

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 9th April 2019
ISBN: 9781459414259
Format: PDF
20+ b&w photographs

BISAC Code:, BUS038000, POL013000, SOC050000
Imprint: Lorimer


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