Canadian Union of Public Employees Guide

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPA) is an institution that has been in place for over 50 years. The CUPE is largely invested in serving individuals who are responsible for providing public services. The CUPE is focused on several different aspects of the working lives of public servants in Canada. This includes complete equality, health and safety in the workplace, improved healthcare, and a better Canadian Pension Plan.

Sector Eligibility

The CUPE consists of people from a variety of sectors across the public services divisions throughout Canada. This includes the child care sector, education division, communications sector, emergency and security services segment, energy sector, healthcare services division, and library segment. Also included in this list are the municipal sector, transportation services, post-secondary division, and social services segment. Even members of the Federal Sector may join the CUPE. There is a wide variety of occupations covered by all of these different industries.

The CUPE Cause

Overall, there are about 627,000 CUPE members in Canada. The CUPE is concerned with ensuring that individuals in the public services sector are being treated fairly. This includes women, those with certain disabilities, and people of all races. The Union is also involved in ensuring non-discriminatory regulations for those of First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis ancestry.

The CUPE wants to make sure that each person is being paid proper wages for the work that they do. In addition, the institution is also involved in improving additional benefits such as healthcare and pensions. The Union also wants to make sure that people are working in safe and appropriate conditions.

The CUPE carries this out by providing representatives for the members that need them. The representatives are responsible for improving the circumstances of each member. There are also other resources in the fields of law and research to help further the cause.

Joining the CUPE

The CUPE has branches in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Labrador, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan. Though members from the various sectors are eligible to join these organizations, the process differs slightly for each. Regardless of where the employees live and work, the first step that they need to take is to contact their local union. They will then meet with a union organizer. Once workers have determined that they wish to join and be represented by the CUPE, they must sign a membership card. This signifies their intent. In Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec, each worker is expected to pay $2 to sign the card. In New Brunswick, the charge is $1. The rest of the regions do not require a fee. Once a particular amount of workers have signed the membership cards, a vote will be held to determine the construction of a union. The percentage changes from area to area, however. In Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, there must be at least 40 percent of workers signing. While in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the requirement is 45 percent. In Prince Edward Island and Quebec, if the majority signs, a vote is held. In Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Manitoba, if over 65 percent of the workers sign, the establishment of the union is automatic.

The various labour boards in each region must hold a secret ballot vote once the preceding step has been taken. The union is only certified if the majority of the workers choose to vote for the unionization. Once this has been accomplished, the union will serve your employer with notice. This is to indicate the beginning of the first contract negotiations. The CUPE is committed to increasing its membership as well as to improving the circumstances for every public servant under its purview.