Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 2 United Bank Workers (UBW)

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 2 United Bank Workers (UBW)

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Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

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Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1972-1978

History

The Service, Office, and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC) formed in 1972 to 'organize the unorganized'; the largely female dominated sector of the service, retail, and office-workers industries. SORWUC sought to organize workers in the service industry which were traditionally ignored by unions, such as restaurant and coffee workers. Their mandate was to collectively bargain on behalf of union members in order to improve working conditions and provide job security. The second local chapter (local 2) of SORWUC was officially formed in 1976, as the United Bank Workers (UBW). Banks were targeted as an area that needed to be organized in particular as bank workers often experienced "lack of promotion opportunities, overcrowded and understaffed branches, favoritism, problems with male management trainees, and a general lack of respect from management." (1) The union was run on a volunteer basis, and a group of about 20 members provided the leadership cor of the UBW. Some members had previous union experience, some were involved in the women's movement, some in labour politics, and others were bank employees. The union survived mostly on donations from other unions, individuals, and supporting groups and organizations. The UBW had strong support from other unions in the province and nation. The first official bargaining unit to apply for certification with Local 2 was the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) at the Victoria Square branch. The Canadian Labour Relations Board (CLRB) denied this application in August of 1976. SORWUC kept organizing at other branches, and after submitting twenty more applications for certification o the CLRB, a ruling was finally made that branch workers could form an effective bargaining unit; this was the Port McNeill branch of the Bank of Commerce. Over the next two years the union would sign up 733 members, however a wage freeze announced in October 1977 by the banks coincided with decreased membership and lack of support and funding. The banks fought the unionization of the branches by supporting anti-union activities, laying off union activists employed in the banks, and blacklisting union workers. To add to these challenges was the increased tension between the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the UBW. As an independent union, the UBW refused to join the CLC, who was also organizing bank workers. Members and support dwindled, and in 1978 local 2 was shut down.

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Internal structures/genealogy

General context

In 1971, Canadian women accounted for nearly 83 per cent of waiters, hostesses, and stewards. In these positions, women earned 66 per cent of their male counterparts. (2)

Relationships area

Related entity

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC) (1972-1986)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Type of relationship

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC) controls Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 2 United Bank Workers (UBW)

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 4, Bank and Finance Workers (1981-1986)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

temporal

Type of relationship

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 4, Bank and Finance Workers is the successor of Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 2 United Bank Workers (UBW)

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Access points area

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

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Script(s)

Sources

(1) Lowe, Graham S., Bank Unionization in Canada: A Preliminary Analysis, 1980: 34.
(2) Smith, Julia M., Organizing the Unorganized: The Service, Office and Retail Workers' Union of Canada (SORWUC) 1972-1986. 1972: 40.

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