Your Local Union Can Help

There isn’t much more frightening for employers than the possibility of becoming unionized. An employer should develop a response to ensure the best chance of beating the organizing efforts of a union upon learning of a union drive at work.

Communication to employees regarding a union is an important tool which can be used by employers to fight a union campaign. An employer is permitted to express its views about a union so long as the employer doesn’t use “coercion, intimidation, threats, promises or undue influence”. The OLRB can dictate certification without a vote where the employer’s communications to employees contravene the Labour Relations Act (the “Act”). As a union organizing campaign is a period during which the employer’s behaviour and all communication will be inspected by the union and possibly the OLRB. Employers must develop.

Some insight is provided by two cases on the dos and don’ts of company communications. In CEP v Boehmer Box, three memos were circulated by the company to employees. The memos made references to unemployment, the ability of the company and the possible loss of customers. The employer noted that facilities in which the CEP held bargaining rights had shut. The OLRB found that the company had increased the prospect of job loss by connecting unionization in violation of the Act with a reduction of the provider’s competitiveness. The Board ordered certification without a vote.

In Service Employees International Union v PRP Senior Living Inc. o/a Sunrise of Aurora, the company undertook significant steps in an attempt to prevent unionization. Executives and senior management from the United States attended the workplace as soon as the union organizing efforts commenced. Management held a series of one-on-one meetings to discuss the workers’ perspectives of their union and workplace issues. Additionally, the union alleged the following: that videos, bulletins, and letters were provided to workers which suggested that the union would lie or mislead; substances questioned the employee’s ongoing job security, and town hall meetings were held to discuss the union. The OLRB noted that certain acts by the employer in isolation would not have violated the Act. However, the cumulative effect of the company’s actions constituted “undue influence” and because of this, certification was ordered.

The following are some tips for communicating with employees during a union drive:

  • Carefully craft written communiqués to workers that address the process and importance of voting, the successes achieved without the union as well as the negatives associated with a marriage;
  • Highlight problems that are supported by documentation like the union’s ability to deduct fees or the quantum of strike pay;
  • Respond to incorrect assertions advanced by the union;
  • Consider the timing for the delivery of communiqués to employees as opposed to a bombardment of communications with employees;
  • Assume all communication (written or verbal) will be assaulted by the union;
  • Ensure managers and management are informed about the procedure and the importance of appropriate communication.

There is A union drive an intense period where an employer’s response has to be considered. Communication with employees is an important component of the strategy that should be developed for the chance of preventing unionization.

Engaging Your Labour Union Business Agent

Teamsters Local Union 987 Companies Agents, for you, work for example Shop Stewards and are available to help with grievances, but their purpose is more than that. Your business agent knows the ins and outs of both the union and your business workplace. As a result of this, your small business agent is able negotiate in a manner that effects change on your behalf and to advocate for you. Your Shop Steward is supported by your business agent in reviewing the details and then engages with the employer so as to settle the dispute when grievances arise. Business agents can answer your questions and offer advice.

If you need advice

Once your business agent will be contacted if you need advice on a workplace issue, although when a grievance has been filed by you with your Shop Steward, your business agent will be able to assist. Your business agents not only know how the union works, but they also know how your business workplace operates and will have the ability to provide you with the best advice on how best to proceed in case there’s any confusion.

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