New Brunswick  -  Construction
How to File a ULP Complaint

Introduction

At this time there is no "Employee Advisor or Ombudsman" funded by taxpayers or union dues to help you address concerns about a Union in the New Brunswick. If you have a problem with a Union's actions, that your Employer cannot address with the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board and the Union, you are expected to take it up with the Union or go to the NBLEB yourself, or with a lawyer.

Generally, Employees are discouraged from approaching their Employer regarding a Union's conduct.

Similarly, in New Brunswick, Employers are discouraged from offering assistance to you if you have concerns with the Union's actions. However, while Employers may not pay legal fees of the Employees, there are times that Unfair Labour Practices (ULP) against the Union could be raised by an Employer. These situations are unusual so please read Question 1 of the New Brunswick Unfair Labour Practices FAQ in our Downloads section for more information. In fact, print and read all nine of the ULP FAQ's.

While there are many sections of the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act about Unfair Labour Practices, most relate to the relationship between Employers and the Union. We will only address those between Employees and the Union. The Union will provide significant help to Employees who want to file a ULP against the Employer and LabourWatch does not attempt to duplicate the information and resources available from them.

Unions are prohibited from discriminating against a person in regard to employment or a term or condition of employment, or intimidating or coercing or imposing a monetary or other penalty on a person, because of a belief that he may testify in a proceeding under the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act or because he has made or is about to make a disclosure that may be required of him in a proceeding under the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act or because he has made an application or filed a complaint under the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act or because he has participated or is about to participate in a proceeding under the legislation.

Get the Forms

The NBLEB has a Form specifically for Employees to file a ULP, as well as a Form to file, if, after getting a decision, you still feel the issue is not corrected. So, if you file a ULP using this package and the NBLEB issues a decision (for example) which instructs your Union it must return a fine you were forced to pay, but it does not, then you can file a second document.

In this package we will deal only with the initial filing as the second "failure to comply with terms of settlement" will follow a very similar path. That possible second filing requires a form we have not included in this "How To Guide". If you need it, you can find it on the Board's website here.

Similarly, if you have made a request for Financial Statements from your Union and not received them it may be a ULP but it is dealt with on a different form. We have not included that form in this "How To Guide". If you need it, you can find it here.

Given the difficulty the average Employee may have with any legislation such as the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act and its associated sections, if you need help, please go to the Contact section of our website and get in touch with one of our Employee advisors.

Our "How To Guide" is only meant to address situations where you believe a Union has violated the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act regarding a Union's conduct towards employees (it is trying to unionize) or with unionized Employees the Union actually represents.

Complete the Forms

The first few sections of the Form are easy, requiring primarily names, addresses, phone and fax numbers. There is a section for "Counsel or Representative." If you feel that filing a ULP it is too complicated please contact one of the Employee Advisors in the Contacts section of our website.

Keep in mind that in the Form, you will be referred to as both "Complainant" and "Grievor".

It is a Unfair Labour Practice if a Union or other person seeks to influence the manner in which an employee may vote, by intimidation or coercion, in any vote taken under the New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act (such as a certification vote or strike vote).

The New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act contains numerous rules that prohibit certain conduct by unions and individuals acting on behalf of unions toward individual employees. Conduct that is not allowed includes intimidation, coercion, threats of being fired or loss of employment, threats of fines or other penalties, undue influence, or any other means which is intended to make you become a Union Member or to stop you from becoming a Member.

Again, if you are not clear on how to complete the form, the NBLEB is very helpful. Do contact the NBLEB or contact one of our Employee Advisors in your area.

Timing the Filing of Your ULP Complaint

The NBLEB states that a ULP should be filed no later than 90 days from the date on which you knew, or in the opinion of the NBLEB ought to have known, of the incident leading to the complaint.

If you are already in a Union, depending on your particular Collective Agreement, you will likely be required to pursue the matter to the conclusion of the Grievence Process in your Union. If you have not had satisfaction after this process you have 90 days to file your ULP with the NBLEB.

This 90-day period generally starts from the last correspondence you receive from your Union.

If you are complaining that your Union has disciplined, expelled or suspended you in a discriminatory manner, you may have to go through your Union's grievance or appeal process before you can make a complaint to the NBLEB. If your Union won't let you use its grievance or appeal process, you can make your complaint to the NBLEB and explain why you haven't first gone to your Union.

If you are not yet in a Union, you will be expected to file your ULP as soon as possible.

Deliver Your Forms

You must deliver the forms to the NBLEB. You can deliver them by: hand, mail, registered mail, courier or fax.

Their address and contact information can be found here.

Remember the 90-day limit stated above.

What Happens Next?

If the NBLEB upholds a complaint, it may order a remedy that is not aimed at punishing the party that committed an infraction, but rather at putting the complainant(s) in the position they would have been had the infraction not occurred.

Some of the other possible remedies, depending on the ULP complaint would be:

  • If an individual committed the ULP, the individual is liable on summary conviction and can be fined up to $100 for each day the offence continues;
  • If a corporation or Union committed the ULP, it is liable on summary conviction and can be fined up to $500 for each day the offence continues;
  • If it occurs during a certification drive, the NBLEB may throw out the certification application;
  • To require the Union to remove any discipline levied against a Union member;
  • To require the Union to pay an Employee for any money lost because the Union did not follow the law.
Updated: 2006-09-04
Advancing Employee Rights
Federal or Province
Caution

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