NDEA Photo 1959

UNDE History - time capsules

Who are we?

The Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) is one of the largest components of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). We represent approximately 18,000 public and private sector workers at DND establishments and facilities across Canada.
Our members work in a wide range of occupations which include labourers, firefighters, ships crews, various skilled trades, administrative services, cleaning services, food services, technologists/technicians, linguists, computer programmers, logistics specialists, engineers, medical administrators, mathematicians, librarians, financial analysts, recreation/sports specialists, retail clerks, etc.
UNDE works with the members and the bargaining agent (PSAC) to obtain fair treatment and respect in the workplace, employment security, fair pay and benefits, and safe working conditions.

History of Canadian Labour - click here to be routed to the Museum of Civilization's web page on Canadian Labour

What do we do?

Health and Safety: UNDE works with the employer and Local Health and Safety Committees to ensure a safe work environment for all.  UNDE also liaises with the PSAC on health and safety issues.

Grievances: Member representatives receive training on the grievance process so that they can represent their co-workers in workplace disputes when consultation fails.   In addition, UNDE employs experienced staff who represent members at the final level of the grievance process.

Classification: UNDE employs experienced staff to assist members with advice and representation on classification issues.

Staffing Complaints:  UNDE employs a member of the bar to provide advice and representation in the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST) complaint process.

Education: UNDE members have access to introductory courses conducted by member-facilitators.  Education modules available through UNDE are listed on the UNDE website.  Training is also available through the PSAC.

Communications: UNDE keeps members informed about the Union's activities through the website and bulletins on specific topics. We also work to promote the Union's goals and activities in the media.

How do we work?

Our members are the Union and our structure exists to encourage the active participation of members.
Unlike other organizations, our union is an inverted organization that is driven by the members from the Local level up, not top down.  The Local is where members first turn for help; where they meet to raise and discuss concerns; where they elect their Local representatives; and where the collective bargaining process starts with the submission of bargaining demands and finishes with the ratification vote on the employer’s offer.
UNDE has also established a number of issue-oriented committees to provide forums for the exchange of information and the solving of problems.   In addition, a Local Presidents' Conference is held which allows Local leaders to meet and discuss issues of common concern.
Outside of UNDE/PSAC, we are connected to the larger labour movement by our affiliation with the provincial federations of labour and to the Canadian Labour Congress.

Who decides?

Every three years elected members from each Local meet at a national convention to establish the policies that guide the Union, allocate its financial resources and elect its national officers.
The UNDE national executive is composed of a full-time national president, a full-time executive vice-president, 10 vice-presidents and a human rights advisor. Each vice-president is responsible for a specific geographical region

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Where are we going?

We are seeing profound changes in our workplace and in our communities. Our challenge is to adapt our Union strategies to help our members deal with these evolving transformations.