Labour Leadership Team
The Change Agents of Choice for Progressive-Thinking Unions!

CUSW Project

2007-current: The Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW)


As a result of the move towards the privatization of the electrical industry, the former Ontario Hydro has been reconfigured into a number of smaller companies and new employers have entered the marketplace. As a result of the Related Employer Act, new working relationships between employers and employees have had to be forged.


In 1999, the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers was formed to represent the interests of the industrial electricians who construct and maintain Ontario’s electrical grid and power generating plants across the province. CUSW has since grown into a national union that represents workers in other trades as well.


Growing into the Constitution

From the outset, CUSW was structured to be a Member-driven union. Each Unit (Local) operates as an independent entity led by a Unit Executive Committee made of up of nine representatives who contribute their time in the spirit of building a strong union where Members truly have a voice in all of the operations of the organization.


Members may also participate in any of 15 different National Committees as well as Unit Committees. These groups guide the policy and functional development of all issues affecting Members. Changes to the Constitution are made every three years at the Convention and are voted on by Delegates who are elected by their peers to represent them.


Making a Difference

In 2007, the National Executive Board recognized that the organization was not fully operating according to the structure and ideals as set out in the Constitution - in fact they identified that, as a fairly new union, they not had not yet “grown” into their structure. Consequently, the President, Joe Mulhall, set out to find an organizational effectiveness expert who could assist them.


Consulting Role

Since 2007, Janet Stewart has been an integral part of the strategic and functional development of CUSW. She is working with Unit Executive Committees, National Committees, Stewards, Health and Safety Representatives, the National Office Staff and the National Board to design and implement a variety of initiatives that have and continue to focus on building the next generation of CUSW leaders while helping each group step up to their roles and responsibilities as defined by the Constitution.


She designs and facilitates learning activities, workshops, strategic planning sessions and conferences at both the Unit and National levels. She continues to work diligently to help Members embrace the changing realities of their industry, to shift their paradigms and to create action plans that balance the needs of the Members while enabling the business needs of their employers.


Janet is working alongside President, Joe Mulhall, to effect change through a series of evolutionary objectives. As a result, new leaders are emerging at every level and in every Unit, contributing to the long-term succession plan of the National Board and ensuring the success of the Union.

Janet has become a respected and valuable asset to the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers and is every bit as committed to its success, as are its Members.

Here's what CUSW President, Joe Mulhall had to say about this initiative:

"Janet - Just wanted to once again state my appreciation to you for what you are doing the work that you have been doing with these groups. It takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a group and tell them that they have to make a shift in the way they see the world. My job at CUSW is to displace the service provider mentality that has been entrenched in these minds for decades. 
You have taken on the more difficult job of filling the void that I create with an understanding of the opportunities a new approach can mean for them. Your expertise in the design and delivery of the information that you present is what make it possible."
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