New Brunswick  -  Non-Construction
How to Decertify a Union


Decertification basically means getting rid of a Union. It happens when a majority of employees no longer support the union or don't want the union to represent them. If you can prove this you can decertify the union. But, there are a few rules you need to follow.

Using our step-by-step instructions, you should be able to decertify your union. If you need help, go to our Contacts pages and get in touch with someone listed there. By the way, others may call decertification "revocation of bargaining rights" or "termination of bargaining rights."

Time Your Decertification

You can only apply to decertify the union during an open time period. Those are:

  • In the last 2 months of a Collective Agreement.
  • If the collective agreement is for a term of at least 36 months, in the last 2 months of each year of the collective agreement after the third year (the 47th and 48th months, 59th and 60th months, etc.).
  • If the collective agreement says that it will continue unless the union or company gives notice to end it or renegotiate it, in the last 2 months of each year it is continued.
  • Where a trade union has not been able to make a collective agreement with an employer (or employers' organization) within 1 year after certification.
  • Where an employer has voluntarily recognized a bargaining agent, during the 10th to 12th month time period of the 1st collective agreement.
  • If your collective agreement expires and the union does not give notice to bargain when it is allowed to, then you can apply to decertify the union.
  • If your union has just been certified and they do not give your employer notice to start bargaining for you within 30 days of the date you were certified, you can apply to decertify the union.
  • If your union has given notice to bargain, but allows more than 30 days to elapse without pursuing bargaining (and no conciliation officer has been appointed) you can apply to decertify the union.

These are somewhat complicated so don’t feel bad if you don’t understand them all. If you have any questions you can call our toll free line, or call an Employee Advisor from our Contacts area.

Get the Forms

You must make your application in writing and need to use a specific application Form 50-1717.

Because you need to prove most of your coworkers don't support the union, you need to collect their names and signatures. Use a petition form or individual employee letters. In our opinion, petitions are easier to use.

The Forms are a part of our Decertification Download along with our instructions. Some of the Forms without full instructions are only available by mail or in person from the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board and are not available at any New Brunswick government or NBLEB website.

Avoid Mistakes

To succeed, you may have to show that your employer wasn't involved in decertifying the union. So, you should make sure that:

  • it was not your company's idea to start the application, your application or the purpose of the application was not discussed with anyone from management of your company,
  • no one from management offered anyone any reward or benefit for starting or continuing the application,
  • no one from management threatened anyone, if they would not support the application, and
  • you have not been led to believe your application will be funded in whole or in part by your company.

Build Support

You should not use threats or promises or pressure to get fellow employees to sign whatever evidence of support you chose, Individual Decertification Form or a Petition. You should think of one or two good reasons why you believe the union should be decertified. A businesslike and friendly approach works best. Remember, once more than 40% of your group sign a Card and you file your Application, there will hopefully be a secret ballot vote, supervised by the Labour Relations Board, where every employee in the group can vote in private. Not everyone who signs a Card will necessarily vote for decertification, but some who are reluctant to sign a Card may vote for decertification in the secret ballot vote.

Check your collective agreement and read the section or definition about "bargaining unit." You will need to collect the names and signatures of at least 40% of the group mentioned in that definition.

You should also remember that it is quite likely that you will have to prove the signatures on your petition were given "freely" and "voluntarily."

Make sure signatures are not be gathered during working hours; however, they can be collected when you and the person signing are on break or before or after work. Also, make sure everyone who is signing the document is given a chance to read it first.

Prepare the Forms

To properly complete your application form, you will need to collect or prepare the following information:

  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of: the applicant (the applicant must have signed the petition), your contact person, the union and your employer.
  • The date the union was certified.
  • A brief description about what kind of business your company is involved in.
  • Approximate number of employees who work for your employer.
  • Approximate number of employees who work in your bargaining unit.
  • The date of the collective agreement was signed.
  • A copy of the collective agreement especially the paragraphs about its renewal and its term.

Deliver the Forms

You can send your decertification documents (your application and petition) by hand-delivery or registered mail. With registered mail the documents are deemed to be filed when they are mailed.

68(1)Where a document is required to be filed by these Rules, filing shall be deemed to be made
(a) at the time it is received by the Board, or (b) where it is mailed by registered mail addressed to the Board at its office ..., at the time it is mailed.

The NBLEB requires that any application for termination of bargaining rights (whether it be for a construction or non-construction matter) must be filed in quadruplicate - 4 copies.

New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board
City Centre
435 King Street
Fredericton, New Brunswick
E3B 1E5


Once the NBLEB gets your application, it'll contact the union and your company to inform them about your application. The union and the company will send a reply to the NBLEB.

Next, the NBLEB will review your application. The NBLEB almost always looks at the "voluntariness" of applications. It'll look to see if your company was involved in any way. If the NBLEB has concerns, your spokesperson will have to address them at a hearing.

If the NBLEB agrees your application was voluntary, it was made at the right time and at least 40% of employees support it, the NBLEB will call a vote of all employees. If a majority of employees vote for decertification, your application will be successful and the union will be decertified.

Updated: 2016-02-25
Informed Employees | Informed Choices
Federal or Province

In most cases you will select the province where you work.

However, select "Federal and Territories", if any of the following apply:

  • You live in Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon.
  • You work as a federal civil servant anywhere in Canada.
  • You work in one of the following industries:
    • airports or air transportation
    • broadcasting - radio, television or cable television
    • telecommunications
    • banking
    • fisheries (but only if your business relates to the protection and preservation of fisheries as a natural resource)
    • shipping and navigation (including loading and unloading vessels)
    • grain handling
    • uranium mining and processing
    • certain federal crown agencies
  • You work in one of the following industries AND (a) your activities connect one province to another OR (b) extend beyond the limit of one province:
    • air transport
    • canals
    • ferries, tunnels and bridges
    • highway transport of good or passengers
    • railway transport of goods or passengers