History of the Union of Professional Engineers
The Union of Professional Engineers got its start in Tampere when the Tampereen Teknilliset association was founded in 1919. Finland’s first technical institute began operating in the same city in 1912. At the beginning of the union, the emphasis was on professional idealism and the fraternity of engineers.
The engineer’s title was confirmed in 1943. Graduates of technical institutes had already spent two decades using ‘engineer’ as their professional title. However, it was only in 1943 they received it as part of their official degree.
The number of technical institutes gradually increased and so did the number of local associations of Tampereen Teknilliset. Tampereen Teknilliset became a national association, and in 1946 it was renamed as Yleinen Insinööriyhdistys (English: the General Engineer Association). By the 1950s, there were so many local associations that the Tampereen Teknilliset transformed into a union. From early 1955 the name the Union of Professional Engineers was introduced.
As the number of engineers increased, so did the union. The 1960s brought about great changes, as the Union of Professional Engineers began to purposefully develop lobbying activities. In 1973, the Union of Professional Engineers was involved in the establishment of the Advisory Board of Professional and Managerial Staff (Finnish: Ylempien Toimihenkilöiden Neuvottelukunta), which is now the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff (YTN). With the YTN, the association got to the negotiating tables to discuss labor market issues. In 1976, the Union of Professional Engineers joined Akava.
The number of union members continued to grow until the early 1990s. Thanks to persistent work, activities, and services offered to members by the union could be developed and expanded over the years.
The labor market lobbying activities were also strengthened. The new millennium brought major changes to technology, industry, and the labor market. Labor market conditions have also changed substantially.
The Union of Professional Engineers has responded to the challenges posed by the change in the operating environment by, for example, seeking growth in new membership associations and new industries, and by working closely with other industry associations as part of Industrial Employees TP.
I am an engineer – the modern face of a 100-year-old profession
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Union of Professional Engineers, a documentary film was made that describes the key themes of the union’s history and discusses the challenges and opportunities for the future of the engineering profession. Also, the documentary shows the lives and ideas of four different engineers. (28:42 min). The documentary is only in Finnish.