Our History - UnionsWA2

Our History

Unions in WA, and peak bodies representing unions and their members, have a long and proud history of advancing the interests of working people. Click here to download 'A Brief History of UnionsWA: Reflections after 50 years' by Benjamin Archer (UnionsWA, 2013).


The Trades & Labor Council, Perth was formed in 1891 and operated until 1907 when it re-emerged as the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Labour Federation.

Here is a short video about Gold Fields Union Banners from the early 1900's.


Twenty years later, in 1927, it operate as the Australian Labor Party (WA).


It continued in this structure for twenty years when, in 1947, the name changed to the Trade Unions Industrial Council (ALP, WA) to more accurately delineate trade union roles from the political aims of the labour movement.


In 1963 the Trade Unions Industrial Council (ALP, WA) was deregistered and the Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia was formed to fill the void.

Although still acknowledged today as the Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia, an increasing association with 'white collar' unions had, by 2000, deemed this old title unreflective of all affiliated unions.

In 1997 the TLC WA led one of the largest demonstrations in WA history against proposed workplace law changes. This video provides a short history of that dispute.


Thus, in April 2000, the Trades & Labor Council became UnionsWA to more adequately encompass both white and blue collar unions.

Over the Years

  • 1891 - 1907 Trades & Labor Council, Perth
  • 1907 - 1927 Australian Labour Federation (WA)
  • 1927 - 1947 Australian Labor Party (WA)
  • 1947 - 1963 Trade Unions Industrial Council (ALP, WA)
  • 1963 - 2000 Trades & Labor Council of Western Australia
  • 2000 - UnionsWA

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