What is a Union?
A Union is an organization of employees, who share concerns about their rights, benefits and working conditions. A union’s basic purpose is to protect its members economic security through collective bargaining with employers. The rights of individual employees are limited in the absence of a Union.
Becoming a member of a Union provides employees with a legally enforceable contract. All collective agreements contain grievance procedures to handle disputes and ensure all members are treated fair.
Increased membership in a Union strengthens COPE’s ability to negotiate for their members and assists the Union in protecting employees from arbitrary decisions that change employment arrangements.
34,000 COPE members work in Health Care, Education, Public Service, Utility Industry, Insurance, Union Offices, Tourism, Travel, Technology, Research, Manufacturing, Transit Industries and Government Offices to mention a few.
What are the benefits of a Union?
The union’s goals in a workplace are it’s members goals:
- Job Security
- Health and Safety in the Workplace
- Pay Equity
- Hours of Work
- Employment Equity
- Fair Wages and Benefits
- Family Responsibility Leave
- Dignity and Respect (union secutrity)
- Democratization of the work place
Legal Right To Join A Union
There are Provincial and Federal Labour Laws that:
- Ensure you have the right to join and organize a union;
- Protect you if your employer tries to stop you from joining a union;
- Give your union legal recognition; and
- Require your employer to negotiate with your union.
Your freedom to join a union is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this right is protected by Provincial Labour Relations Codes. If you work in federally regulated sectors such as communications and transportation, the Canadian Labour Code applies. The legal agency that administers these laws is called the Labour Relations Board (the Board)
If you are thinking about forming a union at your workplace, you should be aware of the basic steps of the legal process.
If you are organizing a union, it is essential to follow the correct process because employers often hire lawyers to challenge your legal right to join a union. An established union has the expertise and resources to make sure you avoid the legal obstacles your employer may try to put in your way and make sure your employer respects your right to join a union.
Is it Legal to Organize? – Yes.
Working men and women have the legal right to union representation. The Labour Relations Codes and the Canada Labour Code ensures and protects that right. For more information about organizing please contact our office by clicking the email link or calling us at 905-387-9843.