The Legal Right to Join a Union
It’s your right to join the union. The law protects you and so will the IAM!
“Every person is free to join a trade union of his (or her) own choice and to participate in its lawful activities…” Canadian Labour Law
“… no employer of employees in the unit shall alter the rates of pay or any other term or condition of employment or any right or privilege of such employees…” Canadian Labour Law
SECRECY – In every jurisdiction in Canada, the law guards the secrecy of your signature on a union membership card just as it guards the sanctity and secrecy of the polling booth at election time. Joining a union is your democratic right and NO ONE but you and the union organizer knows whether you signed a card or not.
NO REPRISALS – Once the majority of you have decided you want the union, the employer is not permitted (by law) to withdraw any of the existing benefits or change working conditions (wages, hours of work, etc.) unless you and your union first agree to it.
These are your rights under the law
- You have the right to join the union and ask others to join;
- You have the right to attend meetings and to ask others to attend;
- You have the right to give out leaflets to other employees on your own time away from company property;
- You have the right to do anything else to help get the union going so long as you do not interfere with the work or violate the announced company policy.
So that you may understand the law, here are some answers to questions about what you can and cannot do.
QUESTION: If during lunchtime or before work I think I have a chance to sign up one of the other employees, can I sign him up on company property?
ANSWER: Yes, you can. But make sure it’s on your own time.
QUESTION: Can I talk about union matters openly with another employee at break, lunch time or before and after work?
ANSWER: Yes. Your right to free speech is protected. However, that right does not entitle you to disturb plant operations.
QUESTION: If another employee comes to me during working hours and asks me to sign him up in the union, what should I do?
ANSWER: Tell him you’ll do it after work or at lunchtime.
QUESTION: Are company rules controlling?
ANSWER: Yes. But when you belong to the union, you will help to make the rules through collective bargaining.
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