1965: Public service workers win bargaining rights

Because of unions, public service workers in Canada have decent pay, benefits and pensions. But they had to fight to win those gains.

Back in 1965 the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wanted the right to bargain collectively, the right to strike, higher wages and better management. They defied government policies and staged an illegal, country-wide strike.

That strike would go down in history as one of the largest ‘wildcat’ strikes in Canada. It lasted two weeks and ended with the government extending collective bargaining rights to the entire public service, although some workers, such as the RCMP and the military, were excluded.

Today public service unions like the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees continue to fend off attempts by governments to roll back wages, pensions and benefits for federal government workers.