Many people wonder “What does the union do with all the money I give them?”

Well, first and foremost, your union fights to ensure you have the best collective agreement possible. By standing together, we make sure our employer treats us well! Today in Canada, many workers face poor working conditions, low wages, no benefits, and precarious employment. But members of CAPE 520 have strong salaries, excellent medical benefits, numerous paid leaves (vacation, family days, etc), and strong job security! This is thanks to CAPE.

Did you know that, on average, unionized workers make $9000 more per year than non-unionized workers? That average is even higher for women and young professionals. (Source: CUPE)

But your union does far more than just negotiate your collective agreement. We also:

  • Meet confidentially with any member who needs advice or who wants to file a grievance for any reason (eg. harassment, false performance review)
  • Fight for compensation for all employees impacted by Phoenix.
  • Meet twice a year with senior management from each sector to raise issues and demand solutions.
  • Participate in numerous health & safety committees at NRCan to ensure you are protected at work

Historically, unions have won a lot of rights for Canadians. Without unions, there would be no such thing as 40 hour work weeks, maternity leave, EI, or health & safety acts. Today, we take these things for granted, but if we don’t continue to fight for these rights, they could easily slip away.

So what is CAPE?

Remember that a union isn’t some third-party service organization you simply pay to take care of these things on your behalf. Rather, a union is a collective of working people joining together for mutual benefit and mutual aid. When ECs come together, we can protect each other—there is power in numbers. Without you, there is no union.

So instead of asking “What does my union do for me?” consider asking “What am I doing as part of my union?” or “What do I envision that would make NRCan an even better place to work?”

CAPE Local 520 is 500 members strong, but we need more active members like you to make our vision a reality. With your help, CAPE can continue to protect everything we have fought for over the years to get us where we are today, and to fight for an even better workplace.

Consider becoming a steward today.