Although it appears there was some form of union activity within the civic service in the early years of the 20th century, it was not until May 1st, 1917 that the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada granted a charter to Arthur Smith, President, and Charles Taylor, Secretary, for the Civic Employees Federal Union No. 30.
A group of municipal employees later amalgamated as a national union under the name of the National Union of Public Employees, which became the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), on September 24, 1963 at a national convention in Winnipeg.
CUPE’s Equality Statement
Union solidarity is based on the principle that union members are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels. Any behaviour that creates conflict prevents us from working together to strengthen our union.
As unionists, mutual respect, cooperation and understanding are our goals. We should neither condone nor tolerate behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Discriminatory speech or conduct which is racist, sexist or homophobic, hurts and thereby divides us. So too, does discrimination on the basis of ability, age, class, religion and ethnic origin.
Sometimes discrimination takes the form of harassment. Harassment means using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue, denigrate or humiliate. Harassment should not be treated as a joke. The uneasiness and resentment that it creates are not feelings that help us grow as a union.
Discrimination and harassment focus on characteristics that make us different; and they reduce our capacity to work together on shared concerns such as decent wages, safe working conditions, and justice in the workplace, society and in our union.
CUPE’s policies and practices must reflect our commitment to equality. Members, staff and elected officers must be mindful that all sisters and brothers deserve dignity and respect.
Paul Moist, National President
Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer