TORONTO, April 14, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite a last-minute amendment removing
the worst part of the Harper government's anti-labour Bill C-525, the
newly passed bill is still a big step backward for labour law in this
country. Unifor, Canada's biggest union in the private sector is
calling for it to be defeated in the Senate.
"This bill would set federal labour legislation and labour relations
back decades, and for no good reason," said Unifor National President
Bill C-525, which received third and final approval in the House of
Commons last week and now proceeds to the Senate, would make it more
difficult to organize a union in federally regulated industries - such
as telecommunications, railways and airlines - and easier for employees
to have a union's bargaining rights revoked.
A last-minute amendment removed the worst feature of the bill - a
requirement that a majority of all employees in a bargaining unit must
vote in favour of a union, rather than a majority of all votes cast
(which effectively would have treated non-voters as union opponents).
But even with this change, Bill C-525 still makes it too difficult to
form a union and too easy to force a union out of the workplace. In the
case of revocation applications, the level of employee opposition that
would trigger a vote to oust a union would be reduced from 50% to 40%.
That means more workplace disruptions, and more uncertainty when unions
and employers should be negotiating new collective agreements.
The bill would also end the current provision for certification without
a vote where a majority of workers in a workplace have signed a union
"Once a majority of workers have declared that they want to join a union
by signing cards, the government should not stand in the way of them
doing so by erecting a second obstacle to certification," Dias said.
"The changes to the Canada Labour Code will also mean that
certification applications will take longer to process and decide."
Bill C-525 now goes to the Senate for final approval before being sent
for Royal ascent. Last year, the Senate effectively killed the Harper
government's Bill C-377, which would have imposed strict accounting
procedures on unions. Dias called on the Senate to do the same with
"Workers don't want this bill. Employers don't want this bill. It should
be stopped now," Dias said.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 workers, including 26,700 in telecommunications,
11,600 in airlines and 9,300 in rail. It was formed Labour Day weekend
2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers unions merged.
For further information:
Unifor Communications Staff Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.