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History of NAPE

How it all started


The Civil Service Association is formed by a group of senior civil servants. The Honourable W. J. Browne, then Judge of the Central District Court, is the first president.

He holds the office of President until 1949.


Association membership grows to 738 members. A suite of rooms is rented on Water St. Dues are $1.00 per year plus an initiation fee of 0 cents.


The Association gains increases in the war bonus and the cost of living bonus for civil servants.


The Association adopts a new constitution and changes its name to the Newfoundland Government Employees Association.

The new constitution provides for a 15 member Board of Directors which meets each month to conduct the business of the Association while general meetings for all members are to be held each year.

Members pay an entrance fee of $2.00 and monthly dues of 30 cents. Membership, which is voluntary, reaches 1200.


The Association establishes its own group insurance plan for members who are employed full time. During the 1950′s the Association presented briefs to Government on salaries, pensions, the need for a joint advisory council and a health and insurance plan with moderate success.


NAPE hires its first employee, a part-timer.


NAPE’s Maintenance and Security stages NAPE’s first illegal strike.


A full time Business Manager is hired. The Association office consists of a single room in Confederation Building donated by the government. That same year the Association affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Government Employees Association, a National organization composed of eight other provincial government employee associations. This proved to be a wise move because through the influence of the Canadian Federation, the provincial government was persuaded to set up a Civil Service Liaison Committee, which was later replaced by a Joint Civil Service Council. The Joint Civil Service Council was the Association’s first direct channel to Government, which allowed the Association to present employment relations issues on a regular basis.


A new constitution is introduced. It provides for an annual convention.


The first annual convention is held at Hotel Newfoundland. In October of the same year the Association finally obtains a long sought after objective – automatic membership and check-off of members’ dues. This was a major accomplishment, one which established the sound financial basis for the future.


The government attempts to implement a classification plan for public employees without input from the Association. This results in widespread discontent throughout the Civil Service to a point where strike action is considered. However, through the action of the Association, Government agreed to a substantial across-the-board increase for most employees and to postpone implementing the classification plan until 1971, to give the Association an opportunity to examine it.

1970 was also the first time the Association met with representatives of Government to discuss the amount of a general salary increase.

The passing of the Public Service (Collective Bargaining) Act in 1970 again raised the Association’s ire. While the Act was passed by the Legislature, it was never proclaimed into law, mainly because of the strong stand taken by the Association and other labour groups.

The Association succeeds in having Government approve the first formal grievance procedure for provincial public employees.


The first Collective Agreement in the history of the Association is signed. This Agreement covers Instructors with the College of Trades and Technology and District Vocational Schools.

The Association’s name is changed to the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees or NAPE. This name reflects more fully the make-up of the membership, which embraced hospital workers, vocational instructors, municipal workers, and others not directly employed by Government.


The first Collective Agreement covering employees in the General Service bargaining unit is signed.


Members of NAPE engage in three legal strikes to back up their demands. That same year, a Defense Fund is established to provide financial assistance to members on strike.


NAPE’s Board of Directors realize major changes are needed in the structure of the Association to allow members to participate more fully, especially in the collective bargaining process. A plan is adopted at the annual convention which brought major changes to the Constitution and structure of NAPE. The old branch structure is replaced by units grouped together in province-wide components, composed of similar bargaining units.


A Special Convention is held to get membership approval for NAPE to become part of a National Union of provincial government unions.


The Biennial Convention passes a resolution changing the name of units to Locals. Responsibility for negotiations is given to the negotiating components, and the Board of Directors is composed of members elected from regions as well as from components. The Executive Committee is made up of a president and treasurer elected by convention at large, and three vice presidents elected from regions. Conventions would take place every two years.


NAPE merges with the Hospitality and Service Worker’s Union, whose former members become NAPE’s Private Sector Component.


NAPE adopts its Affirmative Action Plan, amending its Constitution to add 4 affirmative action positions to the provincial Board of Directors.


NAPE’s first-ever membership-wide vote for President and Secretary-Treasurer is held. This is also the year the union became the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees.

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