What does my Union do?

Eighty percent of nurses in Canada are members of a union. UPN members take home one of the best pay and benefits packages in health care in the country. By belonging to a union you are a part of a community of skilled health care providers experienced in advocating for better working conditions and improved patient care.

Union representatives work hard to assist members with issues in their workplaces. As a member of a nurses’ union, members get to vote for their top leaders – the president, the vice-president, the treasurer and local representatives. The UPN also provides education programs that provide members with knowledge and skills to enable them to recognize and resolve workplace issues such as breach of collective agreement rights, professional practice issues, and occupational health and safety.

How does my union benefit me?

Unions also believe in social and economic justice by lobbying governments. Here are a few things unions have achieved over the years:


  • Minimum wage laws
  • Vacation and overtime pay
  • Unemployment insurance and pension benefits
  • Human rights legislation
  • Maternity/paternity leave
  • Health and safety rules


Unions work to improve wage and benefit packages, and provide a voice for you in the workplace. In fact, unionized workers earn on average 30% higher wages and are more likely to receive health care and pension benefits than non-unionized workers. Unions are leaders in the areas of: publicly funded, publicly delivered health care; employment insurance and pension benefits; protecting the environment; affordable housing, and other economic development.

Why do I pay dues?

Dues are UPN’s main source of funding. Without them, the union could not function. The dues formula is set by the membership in a convention vote. UPN dues are currently set at 1.85% of gross straight time earnings. They are not calculated against overtime pay. Some premiums and allowances are also exempt from dues. Generally your dues will be deducted from your pay cheque the same way as deductions for income tax, pension contributions, EI premiums etc. Dues are then sent to the union by your employer. Regular union dues are tax deductible.

In a unionized workplace, members are covered and protected by a ratified collective agreement. Paying union dues becomes a condition of your employment. That’s part of a long-time union principle that all employees who benefit from the wages, benefits and conditions provided in a collective agreement should contribute to the on-going costs of maintaining and improving it.

The links to the left provide access to many of the benefits and wage schedules that UPN has negotiated on your behalf.

Go to homepage