The IAM in Canada says Bill C-525 is a move in the wrong direction and is urging the House of Commons to reject it.
“When workers wish to better their working lives by joining a union, they are being bullied, harassed, intimidated and even fired on the job by their employers for trying to exercise their democratic right to organize,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “Unfortunately, this bill was clearly written by union-busting employers.”
In a written submission issued earlier this week to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, the IAM says the legislation, put forward as a private members’ bill, is being pushed through parliament without the level of scrutiny that government bills normally receive.
“We are very concerned about the potential impact of Bill C-525, which will profoundly change the certification and de-certification process in federal labor relations,” said Ritchie. “This bill has not come through any of the long-standing bipartisan consultative processes that have normally been used to develop fair and reasonable changes to labor legislation in the federal jurisdiction.”
The current federal law allows for automatic card-check certification without a vote. Under the new bill, all federal certifications would require a vote and 45 percent of those eligible to vote would have to be signed up in advance.
“It is clearly directed at making it more difficult for a union to be certified, and easier for it to be decertified,” said Ritchie. “It would eliminate card-check certification in the federal jurisdiction, raise the threshold for a certification vote, and count all non-voters as anti-union.”
The IAM contends that the requirement for a vote on all certifications allows employers more time and scope to harass and intimidate workers. If non-voters are counted as non-union, employers can let it be known that anyone voting will be considered a union supporter, undermining the “secrecy” of the ballot — and there are few consequences for employers who break the law.
“Where is the fairness in allowing workers to demonstrate their democratic rights,” asked Ritchie.
Ritchie calls Bill C-525 a deeply anti-democratic piece of legislation and its only reason for existence is to make it harder for workers to exercise their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ILO Conventions to join together to bargain collectively.
“The growing levels of inequality and unfairness in Canada are closely related to the erosion of union coverage in Canadian jurisdiction. If we are to become a fairer and more equal society, with a growing economy, unions need to be strengthened, not weakened,” said Ritchie. “This legislation must be rejected.”