Bill 22 reverses amendments to the Labour Relations Act that were introduced only two years ago that allowed for automatic card-check certification when 65 per cent of workers in a workplace sign union cards.
St. John's (09 June 2014) — With the passage of Bill 22 last week, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has done a complete flip-flop, rolling back progressive changes to the Labour Relations Act that were introduced only two years ago.
Newfoundland and Labrador government reverses itschanges to card-check certification process
Bill 22, An Act to Amend the Labour Relations Act, reverses amendments made to the Act (Bill 37) in June 2012 that allowed for automatic card-check certification when 65 percent of workers in a workplace sign union cards.
This new law changes the certification process back to what it was prior to the amendments of 2012, reinstating the requirement that a certification vote must be held in all union organizing drives, regardless of evidence that a clear majority of workers signed a union card stating their desire to be represented by a union. In certification vote with less than a 70 per cent turnout, there is an unfair and anti-democratic provision that counts those workers who don't vote as automatically voting against the union.
New process favours employers, allows for voter suppression and intimidation
James Clancy, National President of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), noted that the government did not provide any evidence to justify its reversal other than caving into employer demands.
“The ability of workers to join a union has been weakened by the legislation, as employers will now benefit by encouraging voter suppression in certification votes.”
Card-check certification was the result of tripartite review involving business, government and labour
The 2012 amendments that implemented the certification based on card-check, were the end result of four years of extensive study and consultation with business and labour through a tripartite Strategic Partnership Council. Bill 22, on the other hand, was introduced without any notice to, or consultation with, the labour movement and was supported by all Liberal opposition members.
“It's obvious that the Newfoundland and Labrador government has taken an abrupt turn away from the balanced approach to labour relations it started four years ago,” stated Clancy. “It's no longer interested in hearing the views of the labour movement; instead has signalled that its approach to labour relations in the province will be solely guided by the demands from employers.”
“It's really shortsighted of the government, as these changes will only encourage confrontation in the workplace and intimidation of those workers who choose to exercise their democratic right to join a union. This situation can only lead to less productive workplaces.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE