CUPE on Strike, 1963-2004


  • Linda Briskin



CUPE On Strike offers a profile of the 1502 CUPE strikes since the union's inception in 1963 until 2004. In addition to breakdowns by province and industry, it considers strike incidence over time, duration, size of strikes, contract status, results, and the pattern of lockouts and rotating strikes. Like the overall Canadian strike profile, a majority of strikes are in small workplaces and are settled relatively quickly. Not surprisingly, CUPE strikes are clustered in Public Administration, and Health Care and Social Assistance. This demographic might help to explain the fact that CUPE has been involved in fewer wildcats, lockouts and strikes for first contracts than other unions. Although the overall trend for Canada since the 1990s has been a decrease in strikes, a modest shift in the last five years is evident in the data. For CUPE, this means more workers on strike, longer strikes, and more lockouts, all of which suggest an escalation in employer aggression. The Canadian data which highlight increasing public sector militancy and the feminization of that militancy suggest that CUPE will be a key player in the map of labour militancy in the future.

This profile of the strike activities of CUPE, the largest union in Canada, makes visible the experience of strikes from the point of view of workers and their unions. Not only does it contribute to a labour militancy perspective on the quantitative data on work stoppages from Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), it also demonstrates the potential of the data to enrich our understanding of worker militancies.


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— Updated on 2007-03-01


  • 2007-03-01 (2)
  • (1)

How to Cite

Briskin, L. (2007). CUPE on Strike, 1963-2004. Just Labour, 10.