CUPE’s 50th birthday

Sisters and Brothers:

Fifty years ago today, September 24, 1963, CUPE was born through the adoption of the merger agreement between our predecessor unions, the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE).

A total of 480 delegates and 236 guests attended the founding convention held in the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg. The merger was the result of over four years of discussions initiated by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). CUPE had about 60,000 members as our union was founded.

Today, through the efforts of countless activists and staff, our union has grown to 630,000 members covered by about 3,800 collective agreements.

The face of our union has changed dramatically as public employees gained collective bargaining rights through an explosion of organizing that began in the mid 1960s.

The message from CUPE’s founding president, Brother Stan Little, was for members to secure bargaining rights for all public employees, to organize the unorganized, and to fight contracting out whenever and wherever it occurred. Throughout our history, those three pieces of advice have remained relevant and essential.

The past 50 years have seen tremendous growth and accomplishment. There have also been countless challenges, as there are today.

As we approach our 26th constitutional convention, next month in Québec City, we wanted to pause today and salute this historic day. We also wanted to thank activists and staff, past and present, for their unwavering commitment to serve CUPE members and to assist in our common goal of building a better world.

Our very best wishes to all members and staff on this historic day. Tomorrow is day one of our next 50 years. Let us pledge to always try and live up to the goals our founding delegates set for us, and to place the interests of CUPE members at the forefront of our union where they belong.
In solidarity,

Paul Moist Charles Fleury
National President National Secretary-Treasurer