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

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

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

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Description area

Dates of existence

1972-1986

History

The Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC) was an independent union, established in 1972 by a Founding Convention of 24 women, with the intention of representing and organizing occupations that were not included in the traditional trade unions of the time. The union developed out of the Working Women’s Association, an organization that sought to provide support to the adversities facing working women, such as obtaining equal pay, day care provision, and job security. SORWUC was an unaffiliated, feminist, member-controlled union, and the constitution stated their aims as being: to bargain collectively on behalf of members; to improve working conditions; and to help provide job security. Their constitution was "designed to allow and encourage maximum worker participation and decentralization of control over decision-making and negotiations by limiting the salary and terms of office of leaders, and by requiring referendum votes on major union decisions." (1) While many By 1976, SORWUC had organized four day care centres, five social service units, one legal office, one student office, and a tuxedo rental store. SORWUC also began organizing bank workers in 1975 and eventually established a specific chapter for the workers in the finance industry, Local 2, United Bank Workers, and later, Local 4, Bank and Finance Workers. The union was financially supported by its members and by donations from other unions and organizations, and ran its offices on a volunteer basis. The majority of the workers SORWUC organized were women, and often they fought for equal pay, maternity leave, living wages, and legislation against sexual harassment, and gender and race based discrimination in the workplace. SORWUC gained public attention in 1978 when the union became involved in the Muckamuck Restaurant strike that developed into a long dispute between workers and management which was never resolved.While SORWUC was a national union, operating in both Saskatchewan and B.C., it was primarily active in British Columbia, its place of origin and the location of its headquarters. After over a decade of organizing, SORWUC disbanded in 1986 due to lack of funds and the prevalence of more nationally focused unions.

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General context

Relationships area

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

hierarchical

Type of relationship

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 4, Bank and Finance Workers is controlled by Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC)

Dates of the relationship

1981-1986

Description of relationship

Local 4, Bank and Finance Workers, was a chapter of the Service, Office, and Retail Workers Union of Canada (SORWUC).

Related entity

Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada. Local 2 United Bank Workers (UBW) (1972-1978)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Type of relationship

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

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Access points area

Occupations

Control area

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Sources

(1) Charlesbois, Monique, "Bank Unions in Canada: The Mouse that Roared," 1980: 63.

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