Volume 8, Issue 3

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Union Households Support Saskatchewan Labour Law Changes

Landmark legislation finally guarantees Saskatchewan employees the right to a secret ballot vote

A recent Regina Leader-Post poll shows wide support for the key changes, even among union households. "And the public is right" said Jim Radcliffe of Merit Contractors, "the proposed amendments really are not controversial at all".
Click here to read the Poll

Rebel Workers in the Media

They came to bore a tunnel but were reamed by labour bosses and a human rights tribunal

Imagine you're working in another country, don't speak the language, and find yourself in the crossfire between a union (which claims to represent you), a human rights tribunal, a labour board, your employer, and the courts.

This was the situation for 30 Latin Americans working on the rapid transit tunnel under downtown Vancouver. They were in Canada, along with 70 other internationally based employees, on work permits. Most have left having completed their work, their June 2007 decertification vote remains sealed. A Human Rights Tribunal is still sitting on a decision involving certain employees who challenged the Tribunal's views that the union did not have to inform them of their legal right to opt out of a class action.
Click here to read the Column

LabourWatch Updated

FAQ's, Card Cancellation, Decertification and National Legislative Charts

Our FAQ's and downloads are updated to reflect that employees in Saskatchewan now have a guaranteed right to a secret ballot certification vote. As well, the legislation has given employees wanting to be union-free the same rights as those wanting unionization by finally making the application threshold the same.

Historically, unions needed only 25% of a targeted employee group to get a vote, while that same group of employees needed 50% to get a decertification vote. Now both processes require 45% to apply for a secret ballot vote.

As a result six private sector labour codes show this proper balance but only one, British Columbia, has made open decertification that parallels the opportunity for certification versus a limited 30 - 90 day window.

Click here to see the revised FAQ's Download
Click here to see the revised Card Cancellation Download
Click here to see the revised Decertification Download
Click here to see the revised National Legislative Charts

NDP Bar Against Remedial Certification Remains

Still, only two Provinces protect employee democracy

In 1994, Saskatchewan's then NDP Government ended the debate among the province’s labour lawyers about whether the Labour Board had the power to strip workers of their right to choose a union or not because of an employers actions. The Act has, since then, statutorily barred forced unionization of employees for the action of their employer (also called remedial certification). The 1994 amendment made Saskatchewan the second province, Alberta being the other, to clearly protect employee choice. This aligns with LabourWatch's Third Guiding Principle.

Like Saskatchewan up to 1994, Quebec, to this day, has no statutory bar, but the Quebec Commission (or its predecessor Labour Court) has never unionized workers due to employer actions. Employee choice has, in the past, been and may still be abrogated by remedial certification under eight private sector labour codes in Canada.

LabourWatch believes there has to be consequences for employers for inappropriate conduct but stripping employees of the ballot box is not one of them.


About LabourWatch - Informed Employees, Informed Choices

LabourWatch advances employee rights in labour relations. We provide resources on unionization to help employees make informed choices. The Canadian LabourWatch Association is a federally-incorporated, non-profit founded in 2000. LabourWatch's membership includes law firms and industry associations across Canada that provide financial and voluntary professional support for the organization's activities. LabourWatch encourages employers, particularly, to use the website in consultation with a labour lawyer.

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Canadian LabourWatch Association
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