Looking to bring a union into your workplace?
This page provides an overview of:
- why you would want union representation at your workplace,
- the process of getting union representation at your workplace (becoming certified), and
- the legal rights of employees and responsibilities of employers during the certification process.
At the end of this page, we have provided a link to an in-depth overview of the process.
Why Unionize Your Workplace?
- Better Wages
- Medical and Dental Benefits
- Access to Apprenticeships
- Access to Training
- Multiple Contractors: Having multiple contractors under the same roof has huge upsides to maintaining consistent full time work. If your current employer is experiencing a slowdown, call your business rep so they can assist you in finding your next project.
- Representation: We strive to create a strong and supportive relationship with our members by advocating for their rights, interests, and concerns. Our Business Representatives come from the field, have worked in your industry, and understand the challenges and opportunities of the industry where you work.
Union Certification Process
To unionize your workplace, the union must be certified by the labour board to represent the workers. This is called the certification process.
The first step to certification is for the union to obtain signed union membership cards from the group of employees who wish to be represented by the union. The signed union membership cards are strictly confidential and the names of those who sign cards will not be shared with anyone other than the Labour Relations Board of BC.
There are two routes to achieve certification using the signed membership cards:
- Route 1 – Union Membership Cards Only: If the union has signed membership cards from at least 55% of the employees in the group, and the Labour Board is satisfied that the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate, the Labour Board will certify the union without a vote.
- Route 2 – Secret Ballot Vote: If the union has signed membership cards from at least 45%, but less than 55%, of employees in the group, then the Labour Board must order a representation vote to determine whether the employees want the union to represent them. If a majority of the employees vote in favour of the union, and the Labour Board is satisfied that the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate, then the Labour Board must certify the Union.
Once the application for certification is received by the Labour Board, the Labour Board confirms through company records that the Union has in fact met the 55% threshold in Route 1 or the 45% threshold in Route 2. The Labour Board will then conduct a hearing. If there are no issues raised at the hearing and 55% workers signed membership cards, the Labour board will certify the union. If 45% but less than 55% of workers signed cards a vote will be conducted. If issues are raised to the certification application, the Labour Board will put the union’s certification application on hold until the issues are decided.
The Labour Board never discloses which employees signed or did not sign cards. The only information shared with the employer is the number of cards signed; your confidentiality is secure through the entire process.
As is said in section 4 of the Labour Relations Code, every employee has the right to join a union. Section 5 of the Labour Relations Code states that an employee cannot be disciplined or dismissed for joining a union.
An employer cannot:
- discharge, discipline, lay off or discriminate against an employee because they sign a union membership card
- discharge, discipline, lay off or discriminate against an employee because they encourage someone else to sign a union membership card
- discharge, discipline, lay off or discriminate against an employee because they participate in a certification application or other union activities
- intimidate or threaten an employee to prevent them from signing a union membership card
- penalize an employee by lowering wages or changing another term of employment to prevent them from signing a union membership card
- promise a wage increase or other benefit to an employee in exchange for not signing a union membership card
If you are an employee and you become aware of any of the above activity, please inform IUPAT District Council 38
Interested in Unionizing Your Workplace?
For more information please contact Brent Johnston, DC38 Organizer, at 604-803-4246 or email@example.com
The document below is a more comprehensive explanation of the above summary.
Please click here to download the PDF if it doesn’t display below.