Our story

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com
Grace Hartman, first woman leader of a major North American labour union [photo credit Brian Pickell 1985]


The University of Saskatchewan Employees’ Union (Local 54) began in 1944 as a direct affiliate of the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), until 1956, when it then became affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). After a strike in 1974, the University of Saskatchewan Employees’ Union was reborn as CUPE Local 1975 in October 1975.

The University Archives & Special Collections holds records from our local’s history.

Bob Jones, 1975’s President

Bob Jones is the current CUPE 1975 President. A tradesperson who was hired into Facilities back in 2004. Bob became involved with CUPE 1975 the following year and has been the President since 2020.

National and Provincial

CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Syndicat Canadien de la fonction publique), serves the public sector – in recent years it has organized workplaces in the non-profit and para-public sector as well. CUPE is the largest union in Canada, representing some 700,000 workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines. Over 60% of CUPE’s members are women, and almost a third are part-time workers. CUPE is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress and is its greatest financial contributor.

CUPE was formed in 1963 when the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) and the National Union of Public Service Employees (NUPSE) merged. CUPE boasts Grace Hartman, its second president [1975 – 1983], who was the first woman leader of a major labour union in North America.

CUPE divisions, such as CUPE Saskatchewan are the political voice of members in their respective provinces, and an integral part of CUPE. Chartered through the national union, each division advocates and campaigns at the provincial level for legislative, policy and political change in the interests of CUPE members and the communities they serve. Each provincial division is led by a democratically elected president, secretary-treasurer and executive board, who are directed by members at annual conventions. Provincial organizations do not provide any servicing or support to the locals on specific operational items, focusing primarily on provincial lobbying, policy development and union education.

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