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The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) was established in 1963 after the merger of the National Union of Public Employees and the National Union of Public Service Employees. Today, it is Canada’s largest union and comprised of over 700,000 members from the healthcare, education, social services, transportation, and airline industries. More than half of its members are women and a third are part-time workers.
Since its inception, CUPE has always had a progressive, forward-looking platform. It was instrumental in securing basic rights for public employees including the ability to strike and bargain collectively. It was also a fervent supporter of equal pay and same-sex marriage and outspoken critic of the Iraq invasion. CUPE made history when it elected feminist Grace Hartman as its president in 1975. Hartman represented the first woman to lead a national union in North America. Currently, CUPE is a powerful lobbying force and has seen some success in getting the Canadian government to adopt pro-union policies.
Canadian Union of Public Employees. (n.d.). Who we are. https://cupe.ca/who-we-are
Ross, S., & Savage, L. (2020, September 4). The face of Canada's unions are changing. Let it be a woman. The Tyee. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/09/04/Canada-Unions-Changing-Women/