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History

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 374 History: 1940 to 2016

 

History has been categorized into decades starting with the oldest information found. CUPE 374 was founded in Saanich, and has evolved over the years and now includes municipal workers in Oak Bay, Sidney, North Saanich, Colwood, Sooke, Metchosin and Esquimalt. 

1940 – 1949

Local Presidents

Roy Wooten (1940’s)

G.C Shepherd 1946

 

Certifications

While no certifications have been found, both news papers and oral histories uncovered refer to both Saanich and Oak Bay employees being unionized in the 1940’s.

Events of Interest

From oral records of long term Saanich employees the birth of municipal unionization can be traced to 1940-41. Two employees: Charles Grant and Roy Wooten spoke of the early days of Saanich labour in interviews conducted after retiring from the district. Based on those records, Saanich Municipal Employees organized under the leadership of Roy Wooten, with Charles Grant being heavily involved.

Any negotiations of working conditions were held directly between a union representative and City Council. An example was a pay increase request from 1946 (Pay Increase Request Denied, 1946)

June 24th, 1943, currently the earliest found reference to the municipality of Oak Bay being organized. A short notice to members of the Oak Bay Municipal Employees Association for a meeting being held on Friday, June 25 at 7:30pm was printed in the Daily Colonist, Victoria BC.

 

 

1950 to 1959

Local Presidents

Saanich Municipal Employees Association

      George Bone (?)

 

Oak Bay Municipal Employees Association Local 17

D.L Brown                 1953

H.B Thomson           1958

No further information was found

 

Certifications

February 10th 1953. Inside staff of Oak Bay join the outside staff and become members of the National Union of Public Employees Local 17

Events of Interest

One article found in the Daily colonist referring to a deadlock between Saanich municipal staff and council over wages.

First Collective Agreement found for Saanich Municipal Employees Association, NUPE 374.

The role of George Bone in the history of the local remains a mystery. Reviewing his oral history it seems as though George Bone was once the Vice President of NUPE National, which would place George in a special place in local history as only local representative to be elected to a National position.

 

 

1960 – 1969

Local Presidents

CUPE Local 374

Thos. H. Smith          1964

George Garside        1969 – 1970

 

Certifications

October 9, 1962 Oak Bay Municipal Employees Association Local 17 changes to local 311.

April 7, 1964 Saanich Municipal Employees Association Local 374 (National Union of Public Employees) officially becomes CUPE local 374 following the 1963 birth of Canadian Union of Public Employees. Local 374 Charter is awarded on September 23rd, 1963.

April 10, 1964, Sidney workers join CUPE 374. Sidney becomes the first of six municipalities to join CUPE 374 over the next 40 years.

1965 Oak Bay Municipal Employees association changes from Local 311, to Local 511.

1966, Sidney’s collective agreement merges with local 374 (Saanich).

Oak Bay Municipal Employees Association Local 311 changes CUPE Local 511.

Events of Interest

In 1963, The National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE) merged to form the Canadian Union of Public Employees. With this merger CUPE became the 2nd largest Trade Union affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress. NUPE 374 becomes CUPE 374.

 

1970-1979

Local Presidents

CUPE Local 374

George Garside        1969 – 1970

L. VanDerMay          1971 – 1972

Jim Brett                     1973 – 1975 (President during 1975 Lockout)

Brian Stead               1976 – 1977

L.A Newman             1977 – 1978

Maureen Nuttal        1979 – 1980

 

CUPE Local 511

Alan Unwin               1975 (Local 511 President during 1975 Lockout)

 

Certifications

Sidney joins CUPE 374, May 20th, 1970

North Saanich joins CUPE 374, March 27 1974

Oak Bay (CUPE 511) joins CUPE 374 – July 11th 1978

 

Events of Interest

Perhaps the biggest event in CUPE 374’s history was the lockout that occurred in early 1975. An event which would shut down garbage collection throughout the greater Victoria area and one that dominated the local media and community.

The history of the lockout is intertwined with that of another CUPE local, Victoria outside workers, CUPE local 50. Under the leadership of Jim Walker, a 34 year old Victoria resident with 13 years of service working for the City of Victoria . As the President of CUPE Local 50, Jim represented roughly 280 outside workers who began bargaining in the fall of 1974 with concerns over labour unrest surfacing in November. On January 26, 1975, after a failed round of bargaining Local 50 served strike notice to the City of Victoria. Employers of the municipalities and the school board join together hoping to create equalization across the Greater Victoria regions Collective Agreements. Saanich takes preemptive action by serving lockout notice to Jim Brett, President of CUPE 374.

CUPE locals in the Greater Victoria region, including Local 374 began to unite under the leadership of Jim Walker and by February 5th, 1975. Seven CUPE locals form a united front to negotiate a new Collective Agreement.  Management groups respond either immediately (Saanich) or in the weeks following with lockouts.

Confrontation and violence became regular occurrences with the Hartland dump being the focal point. With the ever-growing garbage problem all over the Capital regional district many non-union citizens decided to take up the work as private contractors (scabs). By early February Police would often have to stay on scene at the entrance to the Hartland Dump to ensure striking and locked-out workers would let the contractors pass, tensions were high and the possibility of violence was ever present. Len Bath, a bargaining committee member from Saanich kept the membership in control by reinforcing the legalities of the Unions actions. Commenting on the eagerness of the workers to cause unrest verses the Police presence Len turns to the membership and says, “That’s the law of the land, and it’s sitting right there looking at me.”

April 5, 1975 CUPE Local 382, representing Janitors in Greater Victoria schools stuns the CUPE bargaining committee by accepting an agreement with the school board after meeting in secret. The remaining united CUPE locals respond with disgust at the deal.

May 2, 1975 Lockout ends for all locals except for CUPE Local 374 and (Saanich and Sidney) and Esquimalt Local 333 which remains on strike for two different reasons. Local 374 remains on strike seeking pay equity with regional municipalities, and Local 333 decides to reject the deal and pursue a Labour Board challenge that the lockout was illegal.

May 5, 1975. Lockout officially ends.

November 8th, 1976 – The Greater Victoria Labour Relations Associations officially comes into existence to administer benefits of its members and to provide labour relations advice including collective bargaining support. All employer groups of Local 374 fall under the GVLRA.

 

 

1980 – 1989

Local Presidents

Maureen Nuttal        1979 – 1980

Dave Clark                1981 – 1983 (Local President during Operation Solidarity)

Dave Smith               1983 – 1984 (Did not finish term)

Jonathan Kelly         1984 – 1984 (Did not finish term)

Pat May                      1984 – 1989

Maggaret White        1989 – 1998

 

Events of Interest

Operation Solidarity – In the summer of 1983 the Government of British Columbia, the Social Credit Party brought forward a Budget, and 26 Bills which aimed to downsize the provincial government staff by 1600, give the government the right to fire public service workers without cause. In addition, whole sections of social services were to be eliminated such as Human Rights Commission, rent controls are abolished and public sector school sizes were dramatically increased.

Labour Unions in British Columbia respond with various job actions such as: walkouts, petitions, occupation of buildings to stop their closures, and mass rallies.

For CUPE Local 374, participation in this event includes a one day withdraw of services, attendance at rallies at the Provincial Legislature, and sending two buses, full of volunteers to a mass rally in Vancouver.

December 1982. With an ever growing membership and workload, the Local hires a Full Time Business Agent to assist the elected officers of the Union.

Long Term Disability benefits first enter Local Collective Agreements in 1984 under the leadership of President Jonathan Kelly, from North Saanich.

April 30th 1984. CUPE Local 374 affiliates to the BC Federation of Labour.

 

 

1990 – 1999

Local Presidents

Margaret White                    1989 – 1998 (longest serving President to date)

Donna Wong                        Oct 1999 – Oct 2000 (Did not finish term)

Certifications

City of Colwood joins CUPE 374, May 10th 1994. Victor Chen becomes the first Unit Vice President for Colwood.

 

Events of Interest

March 8, 1990, The District of Saanich withdraws from the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association, while remaining involved in the administration of benefits to employees, the municipality forgers labour relation support of the organization.

December 1993, the Local terminates the Full Time Business Agent and returns to a system of only elected officers and CUPE National Staff representing members.

During the collective agreement negotiations of 1997/1998 job action occurred in a small scale after the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association forced a final offer vote on the local. On February 6, 1998 Local 374 begins job action with the stoppage of all overtime, and a work to rule mandate.

The extent of the job action was recorded with a letter to the membership dated February 8th, 1998. (Day on the Picket Line)


2000 – 2010

Local Presidents

Justin Schmid          Oct 2000 – July 2009 (Hired by CUPE National, July 2009)

Trevor Davies           July 2009 – Oct 2009 (Acting President)

Tarsam Basi              Oct 2009 to June 2011

 

Certifications

Metchosin joins CUPE 374, February 5, 2002 – Anitra Winje becomes the first Unit Vice President for Metchosin.

Sooke joins CUPE 374, May 2006 – Darryl Saby becomes the first Unit Vice President for Sooke

 

Events of Interest

February 2001, Justin Schmid becomes the first full time local President after the membership approves changes to the constitution. From this date onward, elected Presidents of the local are booked off from their job for the length of their term (two years), at their current rate of pay (they receive and negotiated pay increases from the municipality that they belong to during that time). An important change from volunteerism to a professional representation.

Following the creation of a full time officer of the Local, an Administrative Assistant position is created to both assist the President and to conduct administrative tasks for the local. The employee joins the Canadian Office Professional Employees Union Local 15 (in 2010 COPE 15 merges into COPE 378).

 

2010 – Present

Local Presidents

Tarsam Basi              Oct 2009 – June 2011

Trevor Davies           Oct 2011 – October 2015

Shireen Clark            Oct 2015 to Present

 

Certifications

June 2011 Saanich municipal workers issued new charter for a new local (CUPE Local 2011) Local 374 continues with members from Oak Bay, Sidney, North Saanich, Colwood, Sooke and Metchosin.

Events of Interest

After months of infighting among the local executive board the members of the District of Saanich voted in June 2011 to leave Local 374 and found a new separate local: CUPE Local 2011. Trevor Davies became the acting president of CUPE 374 and Tarsam Basi became acting president for the new CUPE Local 2011.

July 2010 Trevor Davies is elected (by-election) to the position of General Vice President of CUPE BC; and is re-elected in April 2011, April 2013 and then again in April 2015.

August 2011: After a 3 month campaign by CUPE 374 and its community partners, a proposal to extend the private sewage contract held by Epcor for the district of Sooke is significantly reduced from the proposed 21 year deal, to a 5 year deal.

October 2011 Trevor Davies is elected President of CUPE 374. 374 includes municipalities of Oak Bay, Sidney, North Saanich, Colwood, Sooke and Metchosin.

November 2012 Trevor Davies runs for the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. Trevor runs on a slate with Michelle Laurie of the IBEW who challenges incumbent Jim Sinclair for the President position of the BC Fed. Both Michelle and Trevor are unsuccessful in their election campaign.

November 2013 Trevor Davies is appointed to the BC Municipal Pension Plan Board of Trustees as the Alternate Trustee representing CUPE Members.

October 2015 Shireen Clark is elected President of CUPE 374. 374 includes municipalities of Oak Bay, Sidney, North Saanich, Colwood, Sooke and Metchosin.

December 2015 Trevor Davies is elected by the CUPE BC Executive Board as the Acting Secretary Treasurer for CUPE BC.

January 2016 Township of Esquimalt (Local 333) is approved for a transfer of jurisdiction into Local 374. CUPE 374 now represents municipal workers in Colwood, Esquimalt, Metchosin, North Saanich, Oak Bay, Sidney and Sooke.

April 2016 Trevor Davies is elected Secretary Treasurer of CUPE BC. 

 

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