Who We Are
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) is an international union of more than 650,000 members throughout North America. It is divided into 1,143 local lodges including 65 in Canada, holding more than 5,000 collective agreements with more than 200 companies in the United States, Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico.
The IAMAW is the largest union at Pearson International Airport, Toronto’s largest single employer, with members at Air Canada, Air Transat, British Airways, Garda World, Menzies Aviation, AAS, Sky Café and others.
We are much more than air transport, the IAMAW has become the fastest growing union in the healthcare sector in the Grand Toronto Area (GTA), and we represent workers in aircraft parts manufacturing, aircraft overhaul and repair, automotive parts manufacturing, the hospitality sector, custom paint additives, industrial pump manufacturing, plastics manufacturing and woodworking.
Schedule 14 – proposed changes to the Labour Relations Act, (LRA) 1995 (The Act), creates a new provision to be added to Section 89 regarding union trusteeship, called “Interference with the local Trade Union” (existing Section 149 of the Act). The new provision would limit the imposition of union trusteeship by a “parent trade union” over its “local trade union”. The key element of imposing such control is “just cause”. If the Ontario Labour Relations Board (the Board) considers that there is no just cause to do so, the Board will reject the request.
This provision currently applies only to the construction sector. Extending it to the entire Ontario Labour movement would have negative impacts on unions and Labour disputes. We think that amendment would not be an improvement in the governance within unions. It is outright interference into the autonomy of our members to determine their own constitution and procedures in place. Our union prides itself on our democratic principles, and accordingly all members have the ability to participate in quadrennial Conventions, where they debate and modify the constitution of the Union.
As a result, we strongly recommend Schedule 14, Section 2, 3, 4 and 5 be divided from the Bill to be a separate bill on its own. Further, once thus divided, the Ontario Government House Leader should move after second reading that the bill be referred to a specific standing committee.
Bill 31 Changes
The new provision reads as follows, at Schedule 14, Section 2:
Interference with the Local Trade Union
Interference with local trade union
89.1 (1) In this section,
“constitution” means an organizational document governing the establishment or operation of a trade union and includes a charter and by-laws and rules made under a constitution; (“acte constitutif”)
“local trade union” means, in relation to a parent trade union, a trade union in Ontario that is affiliated with or subordinate or directly related to the parent trade union and includes a council of trade unions; (“syndicat local”)
“parent trade union” means a provincial, national or international trade union which has at least one affiliated local trade union in Ontario that is subordinate or directly related to it. (“syndicat parent”)
(2) A parent trade union or a council of trade unions shall not, without just cause, assume supervision or control of or otherwise interfere with a local trade union directly or indirectly in such a way that the autonomy of the local trade union is affected.
Same, officials and members
(3) A parent trade union or a council of trade unions shall not, without just cause, remove from office, change the duties of an elected or appointed official of a local trade union or impose a penalty on such an official or on a member of a local trade union.
(4) On an application relating to this section, when deciding whether there is just cause, the Board shall consider the trade union constitution but is not bound by it and shall consider such other factors as it considers appropriate.
Orders when just cause
(5) If the Board determines that an action described in subsection (2) was taken with just cause, the Board may make such orders and give such directions as it considers appropriate, including orders respecting the continuation of supervision or control of the local trade union.
Democratic Process of Union’s Governance weakened
This restrictive approach to trusteeship expands the power of the Board and undermines union constitutions.
The IAMAW has a thorough process in place to govern any case where a local union (L.L.) or a district (D.L.) is put under trusteeship or suspension by the Grand Lodge (G.L.).
The union Constitution states very clearly what criteria is considered by the IAMAW leadership (i.e., I.P. and E.C.) to justify such disciplinary actions. Relevant sections of the IAM Constitution are shown below:
Supervision of Local and District Lodges, Councils and Conferences
SEC. 7. The I.P. shall have the general supervision, direction and control of all L.Ls., D.Ls., councils and conferences and the officers thereof.
The I.P. shall have authority to place under his/her direct supervision, direction and control any L.L., D. L., council or conference when he/she determines that the good and welfare of this Association or the membership is placed in jeopardy for any of the rea sons set forth in SEC. 8 of this Art., pending approval of the E.C.
Purposes for Which a Suspension or Trusteeship May Be Established
SEC. 8. A suspension or trusteeship of a L.L., D.L., council or conference may be imposed whenever the I.P. has or receives information which leads him/her to believe that such organization: (1) is violating the Constitution, the laws, policies, rules and regulations of the G.L., or the bylaws of such L.L., D.L., council or conference approved by him/her or the E.C.; (2) is endangering the good and welfare of the organization or the membership; (3) is being operated in such a manner as to jeopardize the interests of the I.A.M. or its subordinate bodies; or (4) if the I.P. believes that such action is necessary for the purpose of: (a) correcting financial malpractice; (b.) assuring the performance of collective bargaining agreements or other duties of the bargaining representative; (c) preventing any action which is disruptive of, or interferes with, the performance of obligations of other members or subordinate bodies under collective bargaining agreements; (d) restoring democratic procedures; or (e) carrying out the legitimate objectives of this Union.
The IAM Constitution is revised every four years by elected IAMAW members from all local unions. If Schedule 14 is adopted as it stands, it will weaken our union’s democratic process to govern our organization. The Board will have full power to approve or not a disciplinary request submitted by the Union, as opposed to the current notification regime. Further, the proposed legislation gives the Board the power to completely disregard provisions of the union’s constitution.
The Jurisdiction of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in internal parent Trade Union-local Trade Union Relations
The current legislation, which applies to the construction sector only, gives some latitude to the Board.
Under the new provisions, any person or local may apply to the Board. We think that this gives the Board far too much power over union’s right of self-governance in the process.
Union Constitutions undermined under the new Provision
If passed, the Board will not have to follow the union’s constitution or by-laws in assessing whether or not a parent union had just cause in order to place the local union under trusteeship, to discipline or remove a local executive member or the local itself.
No Consultation with affected Unions
Bill 31 is an “Omnibus” Budget Bill that includes a great number of issues, some of which are unrelated to the Budget itself. The proposed legislative changes to Section 89 of the Labour Code are among the issues that are unrelated to the Budget. We are frankly disappointed to see this inserted in the Omnibus Bill, as there was no consultation with the broader labour movement within Ontario. It is our view that such a consultation is not only desirable, but necessary.
The IAMAW strongly recommends Schedule 14, Section 2, 3, 4 and 5 be divided from the bill to be a separate bill on its own. Further, once thus divided, the Ontario Government House Leader should move after second reading that the bill be referred to a specific standing committee.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
IAMAW General Vice-President