Our employer through its various communications has clearly demonstrated their bias toward us securing our collective bargaining rights with The Society as our representative. It’s important that we understand what our rights are as outlined in the signed agreement between the Society and LAO.
If you witness any behaviours by management that you think may be a violation of your rights then please contact us, in confidence, at email@example.com.
A few examples of what can be considered management interference includes, but is not limited to:
- email communications to groups or individuals inquiring as to how you will vote, directing you on how you should vote, or giving an opinion on how you should vote;
- group or individual meetings during which our campaign is discussed in the presence of management, where you are asked how you plan to vote or to discuss your opinions of the campaign by or in the presence of management;
- any meetings or phone calls from your direct supervisors or other managers that are outside of the usual and expected course of information sharing that include discussing our campaign for collective bargaining rights or the upcoming vote.
Below are some key points on the protections provided by our agreement, and you can read the signed agreement in its entirety at: http://laolawyers.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Agreement-9-Sept-2016.pdf
Our Rights Under the “Vote Agreement”
The agreement signed by The Society and LAO’s CEO states:
- The unfair labour practice provisions of the LRA applicable to employers, persons acting on behalf of the employer, unions, and persons acting on behalf of the union, including the statutory “freeze” and the prohibition on employer support, will apply on the execution of this settlement, and will end if a majority of those voting vote “no”,(unless otherwise ordered by Bill Kaplan) or, if a majority of those voting vote “yes” will continue until a permanent framework agreement governing collective bargaining is in place. It is agreed that Bill Kaplan will have the jurisdiction to enforce the unfair labour practice provisions of the LRA after the vote in relation to any actions taken after the vote that relate to conduct prior to the vote.
This means that the provisions under the Labour Relations Act as it relates to unfair labour practices will apply and arbitrator Bill Kaplan will have full jurisdiction over any violations. It’s important to understand what some of those provisions are under the LRA.
Conduct During the Lead Up to a Vote
When an application for certification is pending under the LRA (or in our case in the current period between the signing of the “agreement” and the vote), the employer may not increase or decrease rates of pay, or alter terms or conditions of employment of employees affected by the application. This is sometimes referred to as a “statutory freeze.” This freeze requires the employer to conduct “business as usual”, and prevents it from laying off, transferring, or doing anything else that it would not do in the ordinary course of business.
Furthermore, the employer or a person acting on behalf of the employer is prohibited from participating in or interfering with the formation, selection or administration of a trade union. This means, among other things, that you have the right to make your choice about representation without being questioned by the employer about what you or anyone else thinks about the union, without being forced to listen to the employer about what its thoughts or preferences are, or about how much better or different things will be for all concerned if you reject representation (to name but a few stereotypical things that employers do).
Employers are prohibited from seeking to compel or induce an employee to refrain from supporting a union or becoming a union member by any of the following means:
- threat of dismissal
- any other kind of threat
- imposition of a penalty
- making promises
- increasing wages
- alteration of any other terms or conditions of employment
In short, the employer must not use pressure of any kind to influence you not to support or to quit supporting your union.
What Does the Labour Relations Act of Ontario State:
Employers, etc., not to interfere with unions
- No employer… and no person acting on behalf of an employer… shall participate in or interfere with the formation, selection or administration of a trade union or the representation of employees by a trade union… , but nothing in this section shall be deemed to deprive an employer of the employer’s freedom to express views so long as the employer does not use coercion, intimidation, threats, promises or undue influence.
Employers not to interfere with employees’ rights
- No employer… or person acting on behalf of an employer…
(a) shall refuse to employ or to continue to employ a person, or discriminate against a person in regard to employment or any term or condition of employment because the person was or is a member of a trade union or was or is exercising any other rights under this Act;
(b) shall impose any condition in a contract of employment or propose the imposition of any condition in a contract of employment that seeks to restrain an employee or a person seeking employment from becoming a member of a trade union or exercising any other rights under this Act; or
(c) shall seek by threat of dismissal, or by any other kind of threat, or by the imposition of a pecuniary or other penalty, or by any other means to compel an employee to become or refrain from becoming or to continue to be or to cease to be a member or officer or representative of a trade union or to cease to exercise any other rights under this Act.
Intimidation and coercion
- No person, trade union or employers’ organization shall seek by intimidation or coercion to compel any person to become or refrain from becoming or to continue to be or to cease to be a member of a trade union or of an employers’ organization or to refrain from exercising any other rights under this Act or from performing any obligations under this Act.
Working conditions may not be altered (the statutory “freeze”
- (1)Where notice has been given under section 16 or section 59 and no collective agreement is in operation, no employer shall, except with the consent of the trade union, alter the rates of wages or any other term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty, of the employer, the trade union or the employees, and no trade union shall, except with the consent of the employer, alter any term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty of the employer, the trade union or the employees
(2) Where a trade union has applied for certification and notice thereof from the Board has been received by the employer, the employer shall not, except with the consent of the trade union, alter the rates of wages or any other term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty of the employer or the employees until,
(a) the trade union has given notice under section 16, in which case subsection (1) applies; or
(b) the application for certification by the trade union is dismissed or terminated by the Board or withdrawn by the trade union…