We’re here to help you Buy Union. Simple as that.
The ShopUnion.ca web site is designed to be used on the run, as shoppers are scurrying down aisles buying groceries, hardware items, wine, appliances, clothing and any of the other necessities of life. It is designed to make shopping union as easy and convenient as possible.
ShopUnion.ca does not sell any of these products. We simply help you find out which items are made union, so you can make your choices in a union-friendly manner.
For instance, products and services are found using key words, much like Google and other search engines. If you’re looking for toilet paper you don’t need to look for bathroom supplies, paper supplies, toiletries – you simply type in ‘toilet paper’. In a split second you learn which manufacturers of toilet paper are unionized. That simple.
The web site also lists products made anywhere across Canada and the United States, to the extent that we have the resources to seek out the information. This means that the majority of items which fill our fridges and cupboards which are in fact made in another province or in the USA or elsewhere, will be on the list if they’re made union.
The website itself is designed using the principles of Responsive Design. This means that the program determines what size device you are using – desktop computer, tablet, smartphone – and automatically adjusts the image size to fit your screen. No more squinting to try to read tiny type!
History of the Union Label
Unions across north America have a long tradition of urging their members and other progressive consumers Shop Union. As long ago as 1939 in British Columbia, where ShopUnion.ca originated, the Vancouver New Westminster and District Union Label Trades Council was organized to promote the Buy Union idea. In 1956 the Canadian Labour Congress came on board in support of the Buy Union movement, and in the 1980s a directory of unionized businesses and services began publishing, to inform union members how they could support the movement with their wallets and purses. The Union Label Trades Council formally shut its doors in December of 2010.
On January 1, 2012, the movement reached a new plateau when ShopUnion.ca was launched in British Columbia, and gradually spread across the country. ShopUnion.ca is a web site developed by the Lynn Communications Group of Vancouver. Our mission is to modernize the means of finding union goods and services,, and to make the information available to progressive consumers sources over the internet. In that way it is available free of charge to people using destop computers, tablets or smartphones.
John Lynn, Publisher,
Suite 1805, 719 Princess St.,
New Westminster BC V3M 6T9
Notes from the Historical Record
The use of the union label and promotion of goods made by unionized workers was the mandate of the Vancouver, New Westminster and District Trade Union Label Council. Its first meeting, in September 1939 was the start of the union label promotion.
The war years brought an end to the Great Depression and layoffs and created a climate where patriotism could be used to overshadow concern for proper working conditions in industries.
However, unions survived the war and the label committee gained support, through donations of the craft unions. The union label committee's classic campaigns began in the 1950' s and continued until the late 1970's.
The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) was a big promoter of the union label 50 or more years ago, and this iconic television commercial, featuring an ILGWU choir, sent the message.
Union Label committees were formed by may labour councils across the country to help support unionism by promoting union goods, but over time the effort required to sustain the activity became too burdensome, and many organizations scaled down their buy union activities.
We are proud to continue in the fine tradition of others who advocated for supporting our brothers and sisters in the labour movement by purchasing goods and services produced through their efforts.
ShopUnion.ca is now a national movement in support of unions and union products and services. We rely on unions and our users to help spread the word about the growing catalogue of data at ShopUnion.ca and the ease of access.
We believe that progressive shoppers will take comfort from the knowledge that if their products come from a unionized environment, the workers are therefore enjoying the protection of a collective agreement when it comes to compensation, working conditions, fairness in the workplace and the other benefits which come with union representation.
Shop Union Canada!
Where our listings come from
We primarily rely on local unions to provide us with the information we use in our listings. We canvas them every several years asking them to provide us with key information on companies and other organizations with who they have collective agreements. In other cases we secure our information from other union websites which carry similar data. And in some instances unionized organizations contact us asking to be listed.
Our endorsing organizations play no part in what we list or how we list the information. Those decisions are all made by ShopUnion.ca itself, with no interference from any quarter. In general, we list products and services represented by unions who follow generally accepted operating principles of the union movement; in simple terms, we do not use listings from organizations such as CLAC or other unions who are not accepted as part of the House of Labour.
We also make the judgment calls as to who to list. For instance, it happens that only a portion of a company workforce is unionized. In an auto dealership, fir instance, it is common for the mechanics to be unionized and the office and sales staff not. If in our judgment a significant portion of the workforce belongs to a union, we will list that employer. We also indicate the name of the union, which gives an indication as to who in the company is represented by a union.
As in any listing, information can change or become out of date. We appreciate being advised of these changes and thank you for your assistance in helping keep the information as current as possible.