Contrary to Conservative Party talking points, Bill C-525 is not just about moving away from card check, it is about establishing a minority-driven, open-season for a union de-certification process.
The process outlined for decertification in the bill is unprecedented in Canada and is not similar to any provincial labour legislation.
The Act changes this process so that an union certification or de-certification process requires only 45% of the members of the bargaining to sign cards. At this point a secret ballot vote will be called by the labour board.
In an non-unionized workplace, this will trigger a vote where 50%+1 of all workers in the defined bargaining unit will have to vote in favour of unionization or the certification will fail.
In a unionized workplace, 50%+1 of all workers covered by the collective agreement would have to vote in favour of keeping the union or the union is de-certified as the bargaining agent.
Bill C-525 would eliminate “card check” for federally regulated sectors and replaces it with a drawn-out and onerous card signing and subsequent ballot voting process.
It is without a doubt that the elimination of card check greatly reduces the ability of unions to organize. This has been shown in many studies examining Canadian and US labour unionization rates under different legislative conditions over the previous two decades.
The effects of eliminating card-check are well known by conservatives and it is part of the attack on unions and undermining workers’ rights.
Bill C-525 will lead to increased opportunity for intimidation from the employer, which in this case either the government or the corporation in a federally regulated sector.
With the Conservatives as your employer, would you we really want a drawn-out, two-stage certification/de-certification process? What kind of nastiness would result in that time between signing cards and a vote? If you are in a small work place, it will be even worse. The ballot process has been rejected by reports at the federal level as far back as 1996 (Sims Report, Seeking A Balance - Task Force to review Part 1 of the Canada Labour Code (1995-1996)) which have consistently stated that card check is the preferred method of union certification and decertification.
Federally regulated sector employees who are trying to unionize reasonably fear retribution from the employer/government and is why card check is needed. If more than 50% of workers in a workplace sign a card (and have pay $5 to do so), it is like casting a vote. Forcing another vote, overseen by the government, is simply an unnecessary road-block in the way of the workers’ right to unionize.