Unifor: the Union

An Inclusive Name for a New Union

We began by focusing on a single vision that would unite the two organizations...
When the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) merged on Labour Day weekend 2013, Canada’s largest private-sector union was born representing 300,000 members, 800 locals and 3,000 bargaining units in more than 20 different sectors.

We worked closely with Stratcom Strategic Communications to rollout a new brand identity and name.

“Creating a name and brand identity for our new organization while still uniformed posed a real challenge. Pivot brought a wealth of experience and insight to the project, backed up by rigorous research and an incredible amount of creativity.

At every step, we were impressed by how Pivot presented us with many different and divergent options, always making thoughtful recommendations as to the best way to proceed. We are so pleased with the result. It embodies the values we’re trying to express as the new trade union Unifor: bold, open, strong, and decisive. We’re really looking forward to working more with our new visual identity and face to the world.”

– Communications Director, Unifor


Unifor Image 1

We began by focusing on a single vision that would unite the two organizations while still communicating the inclusive values that they offer to Canadians.

Through a competitive analysis, we learned that unions in Europe were much more progressive in terms of communicating their service offerings. Unions in the states are slowly moving towards this model, but Canadians are still behind. In the rebrand, we decided to implement the European-style approach.

Unifor Moodboards

As a national organization, the union’s new name had to resonate with both French and English speaking Canadians.

We reviewed research and survey findings conducted by CAW and CEP, however many members’ naming suggestions reflected an ‘old-school’ union mentality. We embarked on our own research and explored Latin root words and honed in on four options. We created logo concepts and mood-boards for each, and presented our finding to a core group of stakeholders.

Unifor Logo Process

After much deliberation, we settled on Unifor — a combination of the latin words “unis” (united) and “fort” (strong). The name could be imbued with unique meaning as the new union solidifies. The logo incorporates a shield, representing the union’s protective role over its members.

Unifor Logos 1

Unifor Logos 2


As the nation’s largest private union, Unifor, like any other brand, needs to maintain integrity coast-to-coast-to-coast. We developed comprehensive brand guidelines to maintain consistent communication amongst all audiences.

On May 30, 2013, we helped organize the new union’s Momentous Name Unveiling Event, and created a launch video to reveal the new name to the public. The hashtag #unifor quickly became the number one trending hashtag in Canada on Twitter. Our social media outreach efforts (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube) were considered an enormous success.

Unifor Social Media Channels

Unifor Social Media Channels

Beyond the event, we were responsible for a complete brand rollout that included Unifor’s national website and branding for each of the 700+ local unions. We designed communication collateral and swag, created an advertising campaign for Young Workers and developed a strategy and design for the Toyota organizing drive campaign.

“Working with Pivot Design on this complex project was an outstanding experience for the StratCom project team from start to finish. Pivot staff members were generous with their professional expertise, collaborated closely with the client team to design a brand identity process carefully tailored to their needs, brought tremendous creative energy and talent to the table, and responded with speed and grace to every new demand or deadline. As always, Pivot listened carefully and built its creative efforts on a deep understanding of the needs and vision of the new union.”

David Kraft
Sr. Consultant


“To the Stratcom and Pivot Team: you knocked it out of the park! Thanks for your work—history will be made next week with a new union name in Canada and I want to take the opportunity to say what a pleasure it has been to work with all of you.”

Susan Spratt
Area Director

Unifor Collateral

Unifor Collateral 2

Unifor Collateral 3