SORWUC - Service, Office And Retail Workers Union of Canada

Year Published:  1981  
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX2357

One of the primary goals of SORWUC - Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada is organizing the unorganized.

Abstract:  One of the primary goals of SORWUC - Service, Office and Retail Workers Union of Canada is organizing the unorganized. This Union was formed in 1972 "as it was seen as important for working women to run and control their own unions…… The majority of women who work in downtown Vancouver are not unionized, and, of course, are paid wages that barely enable us to survive from pay cheque to pay cheque. The work we do is not valued, is not recognized as skilled work and is poorly paid, with terrible working conditions (i.e. no coffee breaks). We feel that only through uniting and organizing into democratic unions and demanding better wages and working conditions can women achieve economic independence."

SORWUC members draw up their own contracts and negotiate them with their employers. They feel they can better express why they need or want a certain clause in their contract than any paid official or hired negotiator.

Local 1 of SORWUC has one full-time paid person working for the union; this person is elected by the membership. This position can only be held for a one-year period (this was done to avoid a union bureaucracy). Local 1 is certified at 7 day care centres, a law office, a neighbourhood pub, a social service agency, and a paging service. The local has been on strike since June, 1978 at the Muckamuck Restaurant Ltd. The Union is presently preparing a case before the B.C. Labour Relations Board concerning damages and remedies arising out of unfair labour practices committed by the employer. SORWUC does not use lawyers before the Board, but represents itself. SORWUC also has a union contract for a group of homemakers in Powell River (B.C.) who are presently in Local 1, but are considering forming their own Local.

There are two other locals in SORWUC: Local 3, representing the people who work for Oxfam offices from coast to coast, and the Bank and Finance Workers - Local 4 of SORWUC. These workers just formed their own local, and are presently preparing a campaign "to take the banks on again." The Union publishes "SORWUC News" six times a year; it also distributes leaflets about its work and concerns in downtown Vancouver.

"An Account to Settle" (127 pages), a book about the last organizing drive of the United Bankworkers (SORWUC), is also available from the union's office (address listed above).


See also CX2720.

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