OTTAWA, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - On June 5th, Conservative MP Blaine Calkins for Wetaskiwin (Alberta) introduced Bill C-525, an Act to change the certification and revocation sections of the
Canada Labour Code, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the
Parliamentary Employees Staff Relations Act.
The purpose of the bill is to remove the possibility of automatic
certification of bargaining units, often referred to as "card check."
These proposed changes to existing federal legislation would put in
place the highest barriers to unionization in the country. It is
another attack from the Conservatives against the labour rights of hard
The bill is masked as an attempt to provide workers with a choice in
whether or not to join a union, but in reality, it is a further attempt
to dismantle the rights of workers to join a union.
Card check - which involves workers signing union cards to become
certified - ensures that workers who want to unionize can do so without
fear of intimidation and reprisal from employer's who are against the
formation of unions.
Not only does this Bill remove card check--it makes it much more
difficult for workers to get a vote on certification (up to 45% from
35%). Worse, to win a vote, the union needs support from the majority
of the bargaining unit, not the majority of ballots cast. No other
jurisdiction has such a provision. It means that anyone who does not
vote is deemed opposed to the union.
The Bill also changes the rules for decertification - if 45% or more
members of the bargaining unit apply for revocation, a mandatory vote
is called. For the unit to remain unionized, the majority of employees
in the bargaining unit have to vote in favour of continued
representation. That means that all no-shows are counted against the
Essentially, this Bill stacks the deck against workers who wish to be
represented by a union.
The Conservative Party never campaigned on this issue, nor have Prime
Minister Stephen Harper or Lisa Raitt, the Minister of Labour, ever
mentioned that this was a policy change the government was considering.
Furthermore, never have changes to the Canada Labour Code, which is
intended to facilitate employer-union relations, been brought forward
without formally consulting first with both employers and unions.
As a clear indication of the hypocrisy behind this Bill, the
Conservative Party would of course never have been elected to a
majority if these rules were in force in federal elections. In fact,
very few MPs, including MP Blaine Calkins the sponsor of the bill,
would have been voted in if the requirement was to get support from 50%
plus one of all eligible voters.
The only organization that has been actively promoting these changes is
Merit Canada, whose sole existence as an employer lobby group is to
advocate for an end to unions in the construction industry. Merit
Canada does not represent workers, they represent big construction
PSAC challenges the Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour to
denounce this anti-worker Bill in the House of Commons, to confirm that
it is not a government Bill, and commit to voting against it.
For further information:
For more information, please contact Jonathan Choquette at 819-773-2511