A Statement from The Society
LAO today responded to a Society press release from 4 days ago. The Society highlighted in its press release the frustration with the frivolous delay tactics being utilized by LAO in relation to the efforts of LAO’s articling students to secure collective bargaining rights with The Society.
A link to both press releases is provided below. Before responding to today’s missive it is important to understand a few basic facts:
- The vote was held over 4 months ago.
- Ballots have not been counted due to delay tactics and arguments brought forward by LAO.
- The Society is willing to count the ballots immediately as long as LAO does not demand a gag order.
In LAO’s press release today, they say that they wanted to count the ballots cast by the articling students and that we, The Society, refused.
Here’s what really happened: before the vote, LAO asked that the ballot box be sealed and not counted, unless the parties agreed otherwise. As a result of LAO’s request, the board did not count the ballots immediately after the vote. On the first day of hearing before the OLRB, the alternate Chair of the OLRB said he thought the ballots should be counted. After a couple of hours of back and forth, we thought we had an agreement with LAO to count the ballots. But no! At the very last minute, LAO said they would not sign off on any agreement to count the ballots unless the union agreed to a gag order on the results until the board hearings were over (what LAO now calls an “unofficial” or “off the record” ballot count, but what would really be a hidden or secret result).
Notably, the only reason releasing the vote result is even an issue is because LAO would not drop its argument that there should be multiple articling student bargaining units, as opposed to one province- wide unit, which they agreed to for the lawyers.
The Society refused to agree to hide the results of the ballot count from its articling student members, and we explained to the employer why: we told LAO that we are accountable to our constituents– our voters and our campaign committee–and would not agree to keep secrets from them.
While a secret ballot vote is an important part of democracy, it remains our strongly held view that it is undemocratic to muzzle the known results of a vote by keeping them secret from those who cast them.