The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada recognizing the right to collective bargaining will definitely have an impact on negotiations in the private sector, CUPE believes.
“We are writing a new page,” said the delighted national secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Claude Généreux, in an interview in MédiaMatinQuébec. “In terms of work relations, this is definitely the most important decision in existence,” he added.
Even if the decision actually concerns a government law adopted in 2002, “ it will have repercussions in the daily negotiations of the private sector, whether in communications, metallurgy or other areas,” noted Généreux.
With its majority decision, the Supreme Court is tossing out all the decisions of the last 20 years and recognizing that the right to bargain collectively is protected by the Canadian Charter. The highest court in the land has reaffirmed, on behalf of collectives, the values of dignity, personal autonomy, equality and democracy recognized in the Charter. Under normal circumstances, it is presumed that parties will bargain in good faith. The Supreme Court has now indicated to employers that they have a duty to bargain in good faith.
“The Court has said that a public sector employer has a duty to serve as a model for the private sector,” noted Généreux. “CUPE is extremely pleased with this decision,” he affirmed. Généreux is also proud that the centrale syndicale, with two British Columbia unions of nurses and public employees, are behind the challenge that led to last week’s decision.
According to CUPE national president, Paul Moist, the Supreme Court “has eliminated tremendous barriers that were confronting the country’s union movement.”