1967 - The roots of CEP local 707 go down deep to 1967 when the Great Canadian Oils Sands Employee Bargaining Association was formed to represent the workers at then GCOS.
1969 - Being lead by president Steen, the association was very successful at representing its members and developing good strong collective agreement language. The association with new President H Thurber , got quickly recognized as serious when in 1969 it lead a strike that would keep the workers off the job for ten days, the issue for settlement $.10 reduction in bus fare.
1970 - The Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers union had been eying the GCOSEBA for sometime as a potential candidate for merger.
1971 - A vote was put to the membership and the EBA decided by a very small margin not to merge.(211 EBA to 202 OCAW) Neil Reimer and Reg Basken were becoming familiar names in Ft. McMurray because the OCAW was not ready to give up just yet.
1973 - The GCOSEBA made application to Alberta Labour to become the McMurray Independent Oil Workers and affiliated with the CLC.
1974 - Would be seen as a turning point for the MIOW, two months of bargaining would bring about the incorporation of the Overburden area and progression notes.
1978 - Another strike , for two weeks the workers stayed off the job at issue was the company’s demand to return to a 40 hr week thus eliminating built in overtime.
1980 - The Canadian Arm of the OCAW would break off to form the , Energy and Chemical Workers Union lead by president Neil Reimer.
1982 - MIOW President Don Marchand and his bargaining team negotiate a 29% wage increase over two years to bring the workers at Suncor, formerly GCOS, to par with the rest of the oil industry.
1983 - Ian Thorn National Rep for ECWU sets office in Ft.McMurray and leases space from MIOW building. National still interested in a merger.
1984 - The company wants concessions, economy less fruitful for the Oil Industry. Company serves 72 hours notice of lock out ( Alberta Law ) . Last minute settlement with 0% increase with the promise of a wage re opener. Relationship are steadily deteriorating and grievances come to an all time high. The writing is on the wall for a major labour dispute.
1986 - The company is in financial trouble, the price of oil depressed from a high to $36 per barrel to a low of $9. Cost to produce ranges around $23. May 1 . the union was served it’s notice of lock out and reciprocated with a strike vote. The dispute was going to be a tough one. After two days of pickets the courts granted an injunction to prevent restricting access to the plant, most of the management employees were being housed inside and were assigned bargaining unit duties. Loads of contractors were offering to come in and do our work and as the days went on more and more scabs were crossing over our line to go in and do our work . These would rub salt into the wounds as they waved their pay cheques through the windows of their busses as they crossed the line again this time to get out. The ECWU was quick to come to the rescue. Knowing that this was going to be a long one, just from the atmosphere in the province at the time (it may still exists ) , the ECWU opened up their coffers and allowed the MIOW access to their assistance fund. Along with that assistance would be the offer to have R.J. Buck Philps come to Ft. McMurray to help us negotiate a settlement. Philps was well known in the oil Industry as a tough but sensible negotiator. Buck quickly earned the respect of the members of the MIOW. On Oct 23rd workers at Suncor , members of the MIOW would begin returning to work.
1987 - The MIOW merged officially to the ECWU and would become known as MIOW ECWU local 707. Don Marchand would resign as President allowing for Dan Comrie, to be elected as president, Dan had served several terms with Don as Secretary Treasurer and was already known by the membership. Dan along with a new group of stewards would have to take on the challenge of rebuilding a relationship with the company . The first test would be a major fire in the fall of 87 in the extraction plant.
1990 - Dan Comrie was hired by the ECWU and Bill Ross Vice President , would take the realms for the next six months. A bi election was called , and Brian Campbell was elected as president.
1992 - The company announced major restructuring, with a new mining method that would create lay offs . Up to 200 members could be affected. Brian and the executive at the time worked hard to minimize the impact of those lay offs. They negotiated pension packages for older members, education for the most junior hoping to help them in the search for other work and also developed a good recall system that would bring us into 1996 where all who had chosen to stay and try their chances at recall have been rehired.
1993 - A new President, Keith Barrington , certainly not new to the membership because Keith had been on the executive for several years and active as a Steward in Mine Maintenance since 1988. Keith was faced with new challenges. The continued effects of the lay offs, and new plans for the future at Suncor keep the most recent executive busy for the remainder of their term.
1998 - Brought on Walter Manning as President and with Walter comes a bigger Plant . Hopefully a better future as we get set for the 21 century.
2001 - CEP Local 707 represents about 1,400 of the 2,200 employees who work at Suncor’s oil sands operation north of Fort McMurray.
2001 - Members of Communications Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union Local 707 in Fort McMurray voted in favour of a new three-year agreement with Suncor Energy Inc. The agreement includes a 12.5 per cent wage increase over three years. “We’ve got the best agreement in the industry, ” said Walter Manning, president of CEP Local 707. "We have an exciting future ahead of us, and this ensures our members will share in the benefits and opportunities created by Suncor’s oil sands expansion.”
2013 - Unifor was officially formed on August 31, 2013, at a Founding Convention in Toronto, Ontario. It marked the coming together of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) – two of Canada’s largest and most influential labour unions. From its inception, Unifor has become a source of optimism and inspiration that a fairer, more secure future can be won for working people, that unions can adapt to changing times and remain a relevant voice for workplace and social justice.