Our Democratic Structure
The CAW is a democratic union with structures, policies and programs designed to ensure that workers have an equal and valued voice when it comes to decision making.
Local Unions are the foundation of the CAW and provide the base of union democracy. They are the union's voice in the workplace and in the community.
Local Union members exercise their authority at meetings and in elections of Local Union Executive Boards, delegates to conventions, committee members, and other workplace representatives.
The Local Union Executive Board is the highest authority between Local Union membership meetings and the Local Union President is the administrative authority between meetings of the Local Union Executive Board.
Individual CAW Local union structures vary, depending on the type of Local Union.
- Single Unit Local Unions
- Amalgamated Local Unions
- Amalgamated Local Unions with Joint Councils
- National Amalgamated Local Unions
- Railway Shopcraft Local Unions
Between conventions and CAW Council, the National Executive Board is the highest authority in the union.
The majority of NEB members are not full-time national officers, but part of Local Unions. Some are rank and file members. The NEB is representative of the union in terms of regions and sectors. in 1991, the CAW adopted an affirmative action policy to ensure that women and workers of colour are represented.
Some NEB members are elected at the Constitutional Convention held every three years and some are elected at CAW Council.
The NEB meets four times a year and holds special meetings as needed.
CAW Council and CAW Quebec Council are the democratic parliaments of the union. Local Unions elect Council Delegates who meet several times a year to discuss and debate issues of importance to the union. These Councils ensure accountability of leadership and staff to Local Unions. They also educate and develop consensus on issues, develop leadership skills and mobilize union activists.
CAW Council meets two or three times a year: twice in a Constitution Convention year, twice in a Collective Bargaining and Political Action Convention year, and three times otherwise elects seven members to the National Executive Board (NEB)
CAW Quebec Council meets twice a year, and jointly with CAW every three years
once a year, meets with delegates from the rest of Canada either at the Constitutional Convention, the Collective Bargaining and Political Action convention or the joint CAW/Quebec Council.