Why Union?

Unions raise wages-Especially for minorities and women. Union pay is higher in all occupational groups. Union workers have better benefits. Unions are good for productivity. Union workers have greater job stability. Unions help bring low-income workers out of near poverty.

Why do we need unions?

We often hear in the media and elsewhere that times have changed, that we don't need unions anymore and that we can best deal with our problems as individuals.

Think about it, most of us at one time or another have worked in a low wage job with little or no benefits. In these positions workers have no say when problems occur. This is hardly surprising since non-unionized workers have almost no rights or power to influence their employers concerning working conditions and wages. 

Unions like CUPE were established to give workers a say and a real role in resolving workplace issues. Your collective agreement gives you the necessary tools and authority to get fair treatment from your employer.

 Collective bargaining gives you the ability and process to negotiate improvements to wages, benefits and working conditions. Unions are also a way for workers to comment on and influence public policy and government legislation.

A brief overview of CUPE

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada’s largest union.

With more than 485,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.

A strong and democratic union, CUPE is committed to improving the quality of life for workers in Canada. Women and men working together to form local unions built CUPE. They did so to have a stronger voice – a collective voice – in their workplaces and in society as a whole.

Together they have won the right to negotiate their wages and working conditions; to eliminate arbitrary action by employers; and to speak out without fear of reprisal.

CUPE members are service-providers, white-collar workers, technicians, labourers, and skilled trades people.

More than half of CUPE members are women. About one-third are part-time workers

CUPE is a modern, dynamic and sophisticated union with more than 70 offices across the country.

Workers, united through CUPE, have the organizational strength and expertise to deal with the growing complexities of our global economy.


What is a CUPE local?

The local is you and your co-workers. It's the employees from a specific employer or workplace.

In BC, CUPE has over 170 local unions of various sizes from a half a dozen members to 7000 members, spread across the province.

Members decide for themselves how to run their local union. Locals set their own bargaining demands, work with the national representative to negotiate their collective agreement, handle grievances with employers and decide what issues the members want to support.

Most of the above articles are from the CUPE National and the BC web sites.