Gil Levine: The ultimate mensch. "Former CUPE 79 President Jeff Rose called him "a giant of the Canadian labour movement."
He was the first Research Director of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Prior to that, Gil was a crucial figure in the merger of the National Union of Public Employees and the National Union of Public Service Employees that resulted in the creation of CUPE in 1963.
For many years, his office door was emblazoned with a sign that said "Just the Facts". Gil acted on the view that artfully marshaled facts and information are a fundamental strength of unions, whether for collective bargaining or when unions advance their political and policy agenda. It was under Gil's leadership that CUPE began to publish The CUPE Facts which provided core information and analysis for the Canadian labour movement for many years. During his tenure as Research Director, CUPE pioneered the use of computer databases to track collective agreement information through the System for the Analysis of Labour Agreement Data (S.A.L.A.D.).
Gil was also an exemplar of staff leadership in the union movement. He knew that, especially when it comes to options and analysis, full-time staff are an important complement to elected union leadership. Gil was fully engaged in the debates and evolution of the union.
He remained engaged in all the major issues facing CUPE and was the only person to have attended every CUPE National Convention since 1963.
Former CUPE President Jeff Rose added, "Gil Levine was a deeply intelligent and passionate individual whose support for the struggles of working people for a good income, decent working conditions, respect on the job, and a caring society was principled and unwavering. No one has had as much influence on the development of CUPE as Gil Levine. He was a good friend and a giant of Canadian labour history."