CUPE 1004 was recognized at Vancouver City Council yesterday for one hundred years of public service. Mayor Gregor Robertson noted that CUPE 1004 represents and reflects “the tremendous diversity of the City.”
“CUPE 1004 has certainly made a major contribution to the life of this City and our status of one of the most livable cities in the world,” said Robertson. “CUPE 1004’s members are instrumental in our goal to be the greenest and the cleanest city in the world.”
CUPE 1004 president Mike Jackson thanked Council and said he was very proud to be a member of CUPE 1004. Jackson praised the relationship between the City and the workforce. “It’s not just about the hard work that we do,” said Jackson. “It’s about our relationship together. That creates the most livable city in the world.”
“We are committed to improving the City of Vancouver,” Jackson said. “Not only in the physical landscape, but also in our relationship with the City. Our commitment is to provide residents with the best services we possibly can.”
CUPE 1004 secretary-treasurer Frank Lee briefly shared some of the Local’s early history, before it joined CUPE in 1966. CUPE 1004’s first written history can be found in the minutes of a membership meeting on March 14, 1911, which recorded a defeated motion to “endorse socialism at the next Trades Council.” The American Federation of Labor issued its first charter in April of that year, and in May a Committee of the Trades Council was struck to urge City Council to adopt a 44-hour week for civic employees.
In June, 1912 the union acquired a Charter from the International Hod Carriers, Building and Common Laborer’s Union of America (bricklayers and plasterers) and called itself the Civic and General Laborer’s Union. The union received its own charter in 1917 and became the Vancouver Civic Employees Federal Labour Union, Local 28.
Lee noted that many members had been blacklisted as a result of their sympathy strike in 1919 in support of the Winnipeg General Strike. The City Hall Employees and Vancouver Fire Fighters helped financially in the struggle to have these members re-employed and the strong bonds of solidarity established then still exist today.
Glenn Jones, 100th anniversary chair, shared plans for celebrations throughout the year that include a picnic in June and a Gala in October.
Mayor Gregor Robertson accepted the commemorative plaque presented by CUPE 1004. Members representing various worksites throughout the City were on hand for the event.
CUPE 1004 represents 2,500 members who provide clean water and safe sanitary systems, repair potholes, sidewalks and streets, maintain parks and facilities, collect garbage and recycling and maintain Vancouver’s landfill. CUPE 1004 also represents members who work at the PNE, Easy Park (Parking Corporation of Vancouver), the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA), PHS Community Services Society (formerly Portland Hotel Society), Co-Development Canada and the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE), Capilano Students’ Union and staff from various college and university faculty associations.