Employees north and south of the Canadian border are making news by unionizing their workplaces. Amazon and Starbucks are just two examples of powerful, multinational corporate employers now facing a more level playing field when negotiating the wages and working conditions of many of their workers. Workers who are unionized have better wages, working conditions, and job security.
The good news for workers in BC is that it just became that much easier to unionize your workplace!
On 2 June 2022, Bill 10 – 2022: Labour Relations Code Amendment Act, 2022 received Royal Assent resulting in several amendments to BC’s Labour Relations Code (the “Code”). One of these amendments provides for the automatic certification of a bargaining unit a single-step card-based process.
As a result of the amendments to the Code, workers and unions will now have one more way of achieving certification, in addition to the process set out above. Specifically, if 55% or more of the employees in the workplace sign membership cards in support of the union applying to become their certified bargaining agent, the union will be automatically certified without the need to confirm the employee’s choice through a secret ballot vote.
This process is commonly referred to as “automatic” or “card-check” certification and it was implemented in BC to deter and remedy employer interference during organizing campaigns as card-check certification remains the single most effective mechanism to avoid unlawful employer interference and to ensure employee choice.
On the other hand, if 45% to less than 55% of the employees sign membership cards, the secret ballot vote will still need to be conducted to confirm the employees’ choice of union.
Before these recent amendments came into effect, a unit of employees wanting to become certified to be represented by a union had to go through a two-step system. The first step of this process required at least 45% of the employees to support the applicant union by signing membership cards with that union. Under the second step, and after meeting the minimum threshold of signed membership cards, the majority of the employees had to confirm their choice by voting for the union through a secret ballot vote.
If you’re looking for legal advice regarding the unionization of your workplace, the certification process before the BC Labour Relations Board, or any other labour relations matter, contact Labour Rights Law today for a consultation with our lawyers. Labour Rights Law has extensive experience representing clients before the Labour Relations Board and we would be honoured to help you.
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