B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains (Black Press Media)

B.C. NDP keeps secret ballot vote for union certifications

Labour code changes aim to protect workers from contract flipping

The B.C. government has opted to keep secret ballot votes in union certifications, but is moving to make union organizing easier.

Labour Minister Harry Bains introduced amendments to the Labour Relations Code Tuesday that he says will protect employees who are joining a union or are facing a change of employer through contract flipping.

B.C. remains one of a minority of Canadian provinces to require a secret vote to certify a union, rather than the “card check” policy that allows unions to sign up more than 50 per cent of potential members. The changes reduce the time it takes for certification to be determined from 10 days to five business days, and the Labour Relations Board has increased ability to order a certification if it finds evidence of employer misconduct.

Bains said his preference was to move to a card-check system, but B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver was opposed, so he accepted that position, which was also the majority view of his expert panel.

READ MORE: Keep secret ballot for union certification, experts advise

READ MORE: Businesses concerned about restrictions on contract jobs

Contract flipping to a new employer has been a feature of senior care facilities for many years, with some employees having to re-apply multiple times for the same job as employers change. The amendments are designed to preserve successorship rights for those employees, and those of security services and bus transportation services. The amendments also extend successorship rights to food services contractors.

The legislation also aims to restrict the ability of one union to “raid” another to sign up its members, as the B.C. Nurses’ Union absorbed licensed practical nurses in 2012.

It adds a provision to restrict raids in the construction industry to the summer, to avoid efforts to convince members to switch unions during the winter when construction activity and membership is low.

The changes also remove the automatic essential services designation for schools. Bains said B.C. was the only province with that provision, and the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2015 that employees have a constitutional right to collective bargaining.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Let’s block the road

Police resources to cope with the size of the protest group is an important consideration.

Coming up in Cowichan: Meet the Wounded Warriors

Wounded Warrior Run stops at Legion The Royal Canadian Legion Malahat District… Continue reading

Cowichan climber off to Olympic qualifier

Brennan Doyle competing for Pan Am Championship

Robert Barron column: Let’s see more roundabouts in the Cowichan Valley

I commend the city planners for their wisdom in installing a roundabout there.

City of Duncan looks to public for ideas for Whistler Street, downtown park

Workshops to be held concerning 85 Station St. and Whistler Street

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

BC Senior Curling titles to be decided in Vernon

Wes Craig, Penny Shantz looking for fifth championships; Steve Wright, Donna Mychaluk into finals

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read