Toronto Hydro workers first organized in 1913 as part of a craft union associated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), then merged with others in the 1920’s. In 1963, Toronto Hydro workers became Local 1 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). CUPE Local 1 has a membership of 1,500 members today and has successfully fought off a number of attempts to privatize Toronto Hydro.
The Toronto Civic Employees’ Union (TCEU) was founded during the First World War, with its charter dating from 1917. Now known as CUPE Local 416, the union represents over 8,000 outside workers with the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC. They provide many public services, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
CUPE Local 79, representing Toronto’s inside workers, was born in 1942. At the time, the union represented 1,400 workers at Toronto’s City Hall, and Riverdale Hospital, which had been administered by the City of Toronto. Today, Local 79 has more than 16,000 full-time and part-time public sector workers from the City of Toronto, TCHC and Bridgepoint Hospital.
In the summers of 2002 and 2009, members of CUPE Local 79 and Local 416 went on strike as part of the largest municipal strikes in Canadian history, to fight against the contracting out of municipal public services and to protect hard-won compensation and benefits.