B.C. NDP backs off push to scrap secret ballot union certification

Labour Minister Harry Bains introduced new labour code legislation that did not remove the secret ballot and replace it with a card check system in which a majority of union members must sign cards to certify.

Labour Minister Harry Bains. Arlen Redekop / PNG

VICTORIA – B.C.’s New Democrat government abandoned plans to scrap the secret ballot union certification process Tuesday, despite heavy lobbying from union allies that the move was necessary to boost worker rights.

Labour Minister Harry Bains introduced new labour code legislation that did not remove the secret ballot and replace it with a card check system in which a majority of union members must sign cards to certify.

Premier John Horgan campaigned on the idea of card check, which unions have said would make it easier to certify but which businesses oppose because they argue it would make employees more susceptible to intimidation by colleagues.

Bains said the changes will instead focus on “improving the certification process with shortened timelines and better protection.”

Green leader Andrew Weaver said he would never support eliminating the secret ballot process, forcing a showdown between the power-sharing partners because the NDP minority government requires the three Green MLAs to pass legislation.

The B.C. Federation of Labour heavily lobbied the Greens to change their mind, but Weaver held firm in advance of the legislation.

The BC Building Trades said it was “extremely disappointed” the NDP kept the secret ballot.

“Most jurisdictions in Canada have a card-based certification system and so it’s disheartening that B.C. has decided to remain behind the times and continue with an Orwellian-styled double-vote process whose only goal is to limit employee choice,” said executive director Tom Sigurdson.

However, he praised other aspects of the legislation, including a proposal to shorten the required time from 10 days to five business days between an application for union certification and an employee vote.

It also changes the rules on how unions can raid the membership of each other, which Sigurdson said is also important to the construction industry during the summer months.

The legislation introduced Tuesday would extend successorship on union contracts to security services, bus transportation, food services and non-clinical health care jobs in a bid to avoid contract flipping and mass firings.

The changes would also remove education as an “essential service” defined by the previous Liberal government, which limited the ability of teachers to strike.

The legislation comes after a three-person panel representing employers and unions released a report last year with 26 recommendations on changing the labour code, including removing education from essential service, reducing certification votes from 10 to five days, boosting fines, expanding successorship rules to building cleaning, security, bus transportation and healthcare sectors, and restricting employer communications to “a statement of fact or opinion reasonably held” that would prevent anti-union campaigns.

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Источник: Vancouversun.com

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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