Mounties are one step closer to forming their first union.

The National Police Federation filed an application for certification at the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board in Ottawa late Tuesday.

The federation is seeking to represent 17,945 members of the RCMP under the rank of inspector.

More than half that number have already signed up with the NPF. Most joined the organization over the past two weeks, just as Mounties engaged in a grassroots movement to remove the yellow stripe from their pants to protest low wages and working conditions.

Up until that point, Mounties had split their support for a single bargaining agent between the NPF and the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, a rival organization. Support shifted in favour of the federation when it endorsed the so-called ‘no stripe’ campaign.

Brian Sauvé, NPF co-chair, told CBC News the move is an historic one because for more than 100 years “we have operated purely on esprit de corps and a paramilitary structure and a lot of trust that the government of Canada, the RCMP senior management and Treasury Board would take care of us cradle to grave.”

A ribbon campaign to show solidarity with Mounties protesting working conditions spread after some officers began removing the traditional yellow stripes from their pants. (Provided by Lisa Stuart)

Yet after the last 15 years, Sauvé said, RCMP officers don’t believe that anymore. He cited among other things many unfilled positions on the front lines.

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