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About Us


Local 517 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) began in 1943 as the Vancouver Harbour Employees' Association, a small and independent union local certified as the bargaining agent for employees of the National Harbours Board (known today as the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Vancouver Harbour Employees' Association joined the ILWU in 1965 to become Local 517.  With this event, what was then known as the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union welcomed its first Canadian female members.  The occasion made the cover of the Vancouver Sun and the February 5, 1965 edition of The Dispatcher (click image to enlarge).

Local 517 joins the ILWU (The Dispatcher, 1965)

Office staff at Westshore Terminals and Squamish Terminals joined Local 517 in 1975, followed by employees at Fraser Surrey Docks in 1980, the Nanaimo Port Authority in 1990, and most recently the Port Alberni Port Authority in 2012. Members at each of these locations are their own bargaining units, and have separate Collective Agreements with their respective employers. 

Today our diverse membership of nearly 300 includes a variety of office, maintenance, facilities and operations professionals.

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