British Columbia Welcomes Single-Step Union Certification
On June 2, British Columbia’s Bill 10 – Labor Relations Code Amendment Act of 2022 – received Royal Assent and took effect. The new labor law protects workers’ right to unionize by allowing single-step certification of unions when the union can demonstrate support of 55 percent or more of the bargaining unit, as in the case in jurisdictions such as Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and federally regulated workplaces.
Before the law, employers had the ability to conduct “captive” meetings to scare workers out of voting “Yes” in certification votes, with up to ten days between a certification application and a vote.
Under the new law, when 55 percent or more of employees in a workplace indicate their intent to unionize by signing union membership cards, a union will be certified, and no further vote is required. If between 45 percent and 55 percent of employees sign union membership cards, a second step consisting of a secret ballot vote is required, and a majority must vote in favor of representation by the union for certification.
“I have experienced firsthand the difficulty employees have withstanding the relentless employer pressure, threats and coercion to vote ‘no’ for a union when there is an election ten days out in addition to having already signed a confidential card demanding a union workplace,” President of BAC Local 2 British Columbia and former organizer Geoff Higginson said. “Unions generally cannot have access to employees on a jobsite or workplace, employers have a captive audience anytime an employee is on site.”
“Single-step certification is a game changer and victory for unrepresented employees,” Higgerson added. “Bricklayers, marble and stone masons, and tile setters in British Columbia no longer have to fear reprisals on the job for exercising their right to vote ‘Union Yes’ with a certification card.”