In 1974, years before other Canadian unions won maternity leave benefits in collective agreements, the Association of University & College Employees (AUCE) Local 1 at the University of BC (UBC) made history. In its first collective agreement, UBC clerical and library workers achieved contract language that provided fully funded maternity leave for its members. It was a breakthrough not just for workers at UBC, but for families across the country. This is their story.
Guest host Bailey Garden (BC Labour Heritage Centre) tells the tale of this independent, feminist union in honor of Women's History Month.
Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/AUCE
Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.
"Union Maid" and "Bread and Roses" featured in clips from "A Union for Working Women at UBC - AUCE 1" video, produced by Julius Fisher, Working TV. 2018.
Janet Judd, postal worker - Sara Diamond interview, 1979. Sara Diamond fonds, Women's Labour History Project. Archival clip used with permission of the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Available online for research and reference: http://www.vivomediaarts.com/archive/janet-judd
Interviews with AUCE 1 members, in order of appearance:
Sussanne Lester; Jackie Ainsworth; Ian Mackenzie; Emerald Murphy; Jean Rands.
Interviews conducted by Karen Ranalletta on behalf of CUPE 2950. Clips from "A Union for Working Women at UBC - AUCE 1" video, produced by Julius Fisher, Working TV. 2018. Used with permission of CUPE Local 2950.
Research and script for this episode by Bailey Garden.
Honorée Newcombe, “Coming Up from Down Under: A Hopeful History of AUCE,” in AUCE & TSSU Memoirs of a Feminist Union, 1972–1993 (Burnaby, BC: Teaching Support Staff Union Publishing, 1994).
“Kinesis.” Vancouver: Vancouver Status of Women. April 1977 and April/May 1979.
Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada.
Working TV, A union for working women at UBC - AUCE 1, filmed 2019, https://vimeo.com/336116722, 16:09.
"Maternity & parental benefits". Canadian Labour Congress. No date. Article retrieved online: https://canadianlabour.ca/who-we-are/history/maternity-parental-benefits/
"Women's History in the Postal Unions". Canadian Union of Postal Workers, March 21, 2001. Article retrieved online: https://www.cupw.ca/en/campaign/resources/womens-history-postal-unions
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