Unions make the lives of workers better, both in the workplace and beyond.

Unions offer workers a collective voice. Membership in a union leads to better wages, pensions, working conditions and protection on the job.

When people join CUPE, they join Canada’s largest union with 750,000 members working toward common goals. Talk to your colleagues and start organizing today.

Get started by contacting a CUPE organizer here: organize@cupe.ca

A better deal for workers

Unions succeed at making the lives of workers better, both inside and outside the workplace. We call it the union advantage.

Joining a union is the best way to achieve fairness and respect in your workplace. Without union representation, employees have no collective voice or power when dealing with their employer. Through unionization and the process of collective bargaining, workers can demand:

  • Improved pay with regular wage increases
  • A pension plan and enhanced benefits
  • Paid sick leave
  • Improved vacation entitlements and other leaves
  • More control over hours of work and breaks
  • Better occupational health and safety
  • Protection from unjust discipline and dismissal
  • Access to a grievance process

On average, unionized workers are paid $3.55 an hour more than those who are not members of a union. The union advantage is even greater for women. In 2022, unionized women in Canada earned $5.52 per hour more than their non-unionized counterparts.

A voice for workers

Unions are a strong voice for workers, a collective voice that workers would not have in isolation.

Members are the pillar and the heart of our union. CUPE represents more than 750,000 members across the country. By joining CUPE, you will be joining the largest union in Canada. CUPE’s strength comes from our members, people like you, working toward common goals. We believe in solidarity and the power of collective action. We are so much stronger when we work together.

Our members work in municipalities, education, health care, social services, airlines, communications, and other sectors.

We carry the voice of our members everywhere we can: in the workplace, at the bargaining table, in the street, in communities, and to decision-makers.

A democratic organization

In CUPE, members are in charge. There is strong local autonomy, so each CUPE local decides its internal functioning, its priorities for bargaining, and how to manage its funds. You and your colleagues can set the priorities that work for you.

When you join CUPE, you become first and foremost a member of a local union. You will have a voice, a vote, and the opportunity to participate in the union. There are many ways and paths to participate: on the executive, on the bargaining team, on a committee, and more.

Members also have many opportunities to participate at the provincial and national levels.

Leading services and supportOnce you become a member of CUPE, you will have a team of talented and dedicated staff behind you.

Each CUPE local has the assistance of a CUPE national representative. They help with collective bargaining, grievances, arbitrations, health and safety, and other work-related issues by providing guidance, expertise, and experience.

CUPE also offers other services and advice provided by staff specialists. These services include legal advice, research, education, communications, lobbying, human rights, job evaluation, and health and safety.

Promoting public services in Canada

At CUPE, we believe in the critical role that public services play in the lives of Canadians.

Whether it is health care, education, child care, infrastructure, libraries, municipal services, or one of the many other sectors they work in, our members make our communities flourish. Quality public services are the bedrock of our communities. Public services are a necessary part in creating a fair society and equality of opportunity for all.

At CUPE, we know that quality public services need a good, stable, professional workforce. Good working conditions for public sector workers translate to good public services for Canadians.

Privatization of public services never fulfills its promises. Private services often cost more and deliver less. CUPE fights tirelessly against privatization.

Fighting for fairness, diversity, and inclusion

At CUPE, we continuously fight for a fairer and more inclusive society.

We fight for fairness in our workplaces, at the bargaining table, and beyond. We fight for all workers’ rights, for tax fairness, for investments in health and education, for the environment and just transition policies, for international solidarity, and much more.

CUPE strives to reflect the communities we work in. We fight for diversity and inclusion. We fight for our members of all ages, all provinces, all regions, in both official languages.

We also fight for equity-deserving groups, such as women, Black, Indigenous and racialized workers, 2SLGBTQI+ people, and persons with disabilities.

Union dues

To have a strong union that is equipped and ready to fight for better pay and working conditions, union members make contributions known as “dues”. As a CUPE member, you will have a say in how your union local spends your dues so you can be sure you’re getting good value for your investment.

CUPE locals set their own due rate. Locals collect a minimum of 0.85 % of regular wages in union dues. On top of that amount, CUPE members vote to decide how much their local will collect above that minimum.

These funds ensure all CUPE members have the resources they need to carry on the work of the union. These dues cover the staff provided by CUPE to help you negotiate a strong contract, as well as the costs of the daily operations of your union local (like office expenses, newsletters, trainings and events).

In your dues, there will also be an amount that pays into a special fund to ensure you have the resources to defend your jobs and your wages in the event of job action. CUPE has a very strong Strike Fund as well as a National Defence Fund.

Union dues are tax deductible.

For more information, contact a CUPE organizer here: organize@cupe.ca