On June 5, Conservative Member of Parliament Blaine Calkins introduced a private members bill that will make is harder for federally regulated employees to join a union. CUPE is concerned that fewer unionized jobs means lower wages for hardworking Canadians.
Bill C-525 changes the certification and decertification rules for federal sector workers making it easier to decertify and harder to form or join a union. This will impact workers in airlines and other transportation sectors, telecommunications workers, postal workers, federal public servants and others.
This bill is the latest in a series of Conservative attacks on working people and their unions: back to work legislation, cuts to Employment Insurance, raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security, and Bill C-377 (legislation which singles out unions and forces public financial disclosure of all operations) are all examples.
Replacing the current process for forming a union – in which a majority of workers in a workplace sign a card indicating their desire to unionize – with a two step process, in which employers can interfere, creates too many barriers to forming a union. The impact will be drive down wages and make it even harder for families to keep up.
Canadians have the right to choose a union without new rules that make it harder. This bill imposes a more complicated and longer process, with more opportunities for the employer to try to intimidate employees, and interfere in and drag out the process.
This bill changes the rules so that a minority of employees (just 45 per cent) can trigger certification or de-certification instead of 50 per cent, making the rules less democratic, not more. It also imposes an absolute majority requirement for votes, which means 50 per cent of ALL members, not just those voting. That’s a standard not seen in any other jurisdiction or elections. The Conservative government was elected by just 18 per cent of Canadians but it wants to force workers to get 51 per cent.
CUPE and our allies in the labour movement are organizing against this bill. Stay tuned for further information and ways to take action.