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Office and Professional Employees International Union

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Office and Professional Employees International Union
PredecessorInternational Council of Office Employee Unions
Formation1945; 79 years ago (1945)
TypeTrade union
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, US
    • United States
    • Canada
Membership (2021)
Richard Lanigan
Mary Mahoney
SecessionsCanadian Office and Professional Employees Union
Websiteopeiu.org Edit this at Wikidata
Formerly called
Office Employees International Union

The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) is a trade union in the United States and Canada representing approximately 88,000 white-collar working people in the public and private sectors. It has members in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, as well as in one local in Canada.


Clerical unions began forming in the early 1900s. By 1920, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) had issued charters to more than 50 clerical unions. In 1942, the locals banded together to form the International Council of Office Employee Unions. In 1945, this union received a charter from the AFL as the Office Employees International Union.

In 1992, the union absorbed the Leather Workers' International Union of America.[2] In 2010, the Association of Minor League Umpires, the national labor union that represents Minor League Baseball umpires voted to join OPEIU.[3]

Canadian autonomy[edit]

Canadian members made up nearly a quarter of the union as early as the 1970s but in 2003 the OPEIU chose not to appoint a Canadian to the position of Secretary-Treasurer, the second-highest union rank.[4] In March 2004, OPEIU President Michael Goodwin concluded that the American locals of the union had subsidized the Canadian locals by approximately $10 million. Goodwin proposed raising the per capita dues of Canadian OPEIU members by $2.00 per member per month, which, accounting for the then low Canadian dollar, would mean Canadians were paying more in dues than their American counterparts.[4]

On June 20, 2004, the Canadian locals voted 74 percent to 26 percent to form their own, autonomous union under the umbrella of the international. OPEIU Canadian delegates to the international convention, meeting in Bal Harbor, Florida, withdrew from the proceedings and formed their own national union—the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE).


1945: Paul Hutchings[5]
1953: Howard Coughlin[6]
1979: John Kelly[6]
1994: Michael Goodwin[7]
2015: Richard Lanigan[8]


  1. ^ US Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards. File number 000-067. (Search) Report submitted 2021-12-24.
  2. ^ "Inactive Organizations" (PDF). UMD Labor Collections. University of Maryland. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  3. ^ "Minor league umps affiliate with larger union". FOX Sports. February 22, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Ross, Andy (2011). Finding Our Power: Stories of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378. Vancouver: Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-9784058-1-6.
  5. ^ "Our History". OPEIU. Retrieved October 30, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Coughlin retires August 1 as OPEIU President; John Kelly chosen to replace him in post" (PDF). White Collar. July–August 1979. Retrieved October 30, 2022.
  7. ^ Cimini, Michael H.; Muhl, Charles J. (January 1995). "Labor-management bargaining in 1994". Monthly Labor Review.
  8. ^ "Lanigan Elected OPEIU President". Bloomberg Law. June 6, 2016. Retrieved October 30, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Finley, Joseph E. (1975). White Collar Union: The Story of the OPEIU and Its People. New York: Octagon Books. ISBN 978-0-374-92742-4.

External links[edit]