February 20, 2014
By Stephanie West
Toronto, Ontario – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers says Bill C-525 is a move in the wrong direction and is urging the House of Commons in Canada to reject it. "We are very concerned about the potential impact of Bill C-525, which will profoundly change the certification and de-certification process in federal labour relations, said IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie.
"This bill has not come through any of the long-standing bi-partite consultative processes that have normally been used to develop fair and reasonable changes to labour legislation in the federal jurisdiction."
The current federal law allows for automatic card-check certification, without a vote but under the new bill, all federal certifications would require a vote and 45 per cent of those eligible to vote would have to be signed up in advance. "It is clearly directed at making it more difficult for a union to be certified, and easier for it to be decertified, said Ritchie. "It would eliminate card-check certification in the federal jurisdiction, raise the threshold for a certification vote, and count all non-voters as anti-union."
The Machinists contend that the requirement for a vote on all certifications allows employers more time and scope to harass and intimidate workers. If non-voters are counted as non-union, employers can let it be known that anyone voting will be considered a union supporter, undermining the "secrecy" of the ballot — and there are few consequences for employers who break the law. "Where is the fairness in allowing workers to demonstrate their democratic rights," asked Ritchie.
Ritchie calls Bill C-525 a deeply anti-democratic piece of legislation and its only reason for existence is to make it harder for workers to exercise their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ILO Conventions to join together to bargain collectively.
"If we are to become a fairer and more equal society, with a growing economy, unions need to be strengthened, not weakened, "said Ritchie. "This legislation must be rejected."