Unifor is a voluntary organization that belongs to its members. It is controlled by members and driven by members. Its role is to serve their collective interests in the workplace and in our communities. The life of Unifor is shaped by the essential ingredient of democratic participation. Democratic values are the foundation of all that we do. Our commitment to the principles and practices of democratic unionism define who we are and are reflected in our rules, structures and processes.
Unity is the process of transforming individual aspirations into collective interests and action. It is based on equality. It is forged in diversity. It is strengthened by solidarity. As we overcome the divides of geography, the barriers of separate workplaces and occupations, and the differences of race and gender, age and background, we build a unified working class organization.
Open and Inclusive
An engaged membership is critical to Unifor’s success. Engagement happens when ideas are welcome, involvement is encouraged and when the union actively develops the skills and understanding of its members. In our efforts to be inclusive, we open the union to new members and a broader definition of membership, and we ensure that our union reflects the diversity of our membership and communities.
Unifor is more than an aggregate of individual members. The union is shaped by our relationships, by how we treat and care for each other. Our commitment to solidarity speaks to the significance of the language of “union sister” and “union brother”. It is evident in the day-to-day bonds of fellowship and friendship, it is found in the expressions of respect and mutual support, and it is witnessed in the acts of cooperation and interdependence, and by our commitment to anti-harassment.
Solidarity is how we pay tribute to the fact that an injury to one is an injury to all. It is how we acknowledge that what we want for ourselves, we want for others. And it is how we demonstrate our resolve and determination to make it so.
Unifor will react quickly, respond effectively, set decisively and maintain a clear focus on our objectives. This requires the development of skilled, competent and capable leaders and staff. It further requires sufficient resources (people and money) be effectively used.
We are building an organization that is innovative, always reviewing, evolving and improving. For Unifor, change is a constant. We are committed to learn from our efforts, modify our practices, and adopt new ways of conducting our activities.
Our goal is an organization capable of vigorously defending ourselves, protecting and advancing our interests and fighting for all workers.
Our vision is compelling. It is to fundamentally change the economy, with equality and social justice, restore and strengthen our democracy and achieve an environmentally sustainable future. This is the basis of social unionism — a strong and progressive union culture and a commitment to work in common cause with other progressives in Canada and around the world.
Gender and Equity
Unifor is fully committed to equity and inclusion. Women, Aboriginal and Workers of Colour, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workers, Young Workers, Workers with Disabilities and other equity-seeking groups, will be represented in the structures of the union at all levels. In certain articles, the constitution provides specific provisions which detail how women and equity groups participate in the leadership structures of the union. Elsewhere the commitment is expressed as a more general one. Where the commitment is a general one, it requires those with the necessary authority and responsibility to address the issue. When By-Laws of all bodies in the unions are submitted to the National Executive Board for approval they will be viewed through this gender and equity lens.
Union Renewal and Generational Change
The strength and dynamism of Unifor, at all levels, is based on union renewal. How the structures and practices of the union evolve over time; how the union is open to and receives new ideas, and how the union renews its leadership by making space for the next generation.
Generational change is essential for union renewal. As such it is the expectation and desire of the union that all National Officers, Regional Directors, Local Union officers and Staff voluntarily retire from their position at age 65 or before.
The responsibility of leadership is to build the strategic determinants of union strength — membership levels, bargaining power, mobilizing capacity, political influence — and to guide and shape the union with a compelling vision. The role of leadership is to inspire and motivate and to ensure that we achieve all of the above, as well as the following objectives.