Do you want respect and fairness at work?
If you want better pay, dignity and respect in your workplace, then join a union.
Whether you work in a small or a large workplace, public sector or private sector you have the right to join a union.
A Voice at Work
With a union at your workplace you have a say in what happens at your workplace. Without a union – management calls all the shots and the people who actually do the work are often excluded from discussions where they have valuable input. Instead of dealing with arbitrary decisions from management – you have a voice.
Respect is about being paid a fair wage and being valued at work. Respect is not being bullied or harassed at work. It means management having realistic expectations and consulting on important workplace decisions. With a union – management and workers are equal before the labour board.
Fairness Rather than Favouritism
When you join a union you will negotiate a set of rules that guarantee respect and fairness for everyone – not just management's favourites. Pay increases, benefits and workplace conditions are guaranteed in a contract that cannot be changed without agreement from you and your co-workers.
Most unions in BC have training programs for members so you can expand your skills. Often unions offer workplace training on your rights at work, occupational health and safety, dealing with difficult situations and public speaking.
With a union you can speak out about problems at the job without fear of being disciplined or losing your job. With a union, contract workers can only be fired when there is just cause – not just because a supervisor doesn’t like you.
A Better Workplace Environment
By yourself you don’t have much power – but when you work together with your co-workers, you can get more done. With a union you have a chance to have a say in your conditions of work. You get a say about fairness, job security and respect. All too often, workplaces without a union have to deal with unfair treatment, inconsistent rules or favouritism.
Having a union at work means you can make your job better rather than looking for another job.
Why do many workers choose to join a union?
It is your right in British Columbia to join a union. Here's what the law says about your right to join a union:
BC Labour Relations Code (Provincial)
Rights of employers and employees
4. (1) Every employee is free to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its lawful activities.
6. (3) An employer or a person acting on behalf of an employer shall not
(a) discharge, suspend, transfer, lay off or otherwise discipline an employee, refuse to employ or continue to employ a person or discriminate against a person in regard to employment or a condition of employment because the person
(i) is or proposes to become or seeks to induce another person to become a member or officer of a trade union or
(ii) participates in the promotion, formation or administration of a trade union.
Part I Canada Labour Code - (Federal)
(i) Every employee is free to join the trade union of his/her choice and to participate in its lawful activities.
Prohibitions Relating to Employers
(i) No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall:
(a) refuse to employ or to continue to employ or suspend, transfer, lay off or otherwise discriminate against any person with respect to employment, pay or any other term or condition of employment or intimidate, threaten or otherwise discipline any person because the person...
(i) is or proposes to become, or seek to induce any other person to become, a member, officer or representative of a trade union or participate in the promotion, formation or administration of a trade union.
Joining a union in British Columbia
There are some detailed and formal legal steps to follow and a union organizer will assist you with those requirements.
The basic steps in organizing a union are not difficult:
- You and a majority of your co-workers (excluding management) sign a membership card indicating your desire to become unionized.
- The union will file an Application for Certification as the bargaining agent for your workplace before the appropriate Labour Relations Board. Depending on what jurisdiction you are employed in BC, you must sign up at least 45% of the employees in order to apply for certification. In a federally regulated workplace, you must have at least 40% employee support to apply.
- The Labour Relations Board will review all membership cards received and conduct a vote of the eligible employees. If the majority votes in favour, the union is certified.
A union organizer will work with you to determine how to accomplish these steps without jeopardizing your changes of success.