About Your Union

CUPE Local 15 was organized over 90 years ago and has 6,000 members working for 19 employers located in the Metro Vancouver area. Our members work in a diversity of jobs, including educational, administrative, recreational, health care, technical, cultural, and residential with the majority within the public sector.

Canadian Union of Public Employee's Local 15 - Vancouver Municipal, Education and Community Workers

CUPE Local 15 was organized over 90 years ago and has 6,000 members working for 19 employers located in the Metro Vancouver area. Our members work in a diversity of jobs, including educational, adminsitrative, recreational, health care, technical, cultural, and residential with the majority within the public sector.

History of CUPE Local 15 Vancouver Municipal, Education and Community Workers

The forerunner of CUPE Local 15 - the Vancouver City Hall Employees' Association, was founded in 1918 and affiliated with the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada in the same year. F.D. Corrin was the first President.

The Association joined with the Policemen's Union, the Vancouver Firefighters, and the Outside Workers to form the Civic Federation. By 1920 the Federation became the major bargaining agent for the municipal workers. By 1927 the Federation had an agreement with the City for its first Pension Plan, later known as the Provincial Superannuation Plan for all provincial government employees in1928.

During the Great Depression the Association came to an agreement with the Council that all employees would work every other week, with their wages cut back accordingly, in order to keep the workers off the welfare rolls.

Although women had been asked to become members they refused, preferring to form their own Women's Auxiliary. It was not until 1944 when one woman, Minnie Lazarus, talked the women into joining the Association. Sister Lazarus became the only women executive member from that year until her retirement 23 years later.

The Association became the Vancouver Municipal and Regional Employees' Union (VMREU) in 1970. The membership was adamant that it wanted to remain independent but agreed the Association must be ready to expand in other areas that needed organizing.

CUPE's Roots

The Canadian Union of Public Employees was created in 1963. Before that there were two major organizations representing public employees - The National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE). We were members of NUPSE at the time.

In September of 1963 in Winnipeg delegates to the convention of NUPSE and NUPE decided to dissolve their respective unions and merge into one large union for public sector employees. We were present at that convention, however we decided not to join CUPE in 1963. CUPE decided to reserve the number Local 15 for us in case we ever changed our minds.

Merger

In June 1995, the VMREU members voted to merge with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). After over 30 years, Local number 15 was now ours. We became known as CUPE Local 15 - VMECW (Vancouver Municipal, Education & Community Workers). The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada's largest union with a membership of 618,000 members across Canada.