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The Ontario Labour Relations Act protects your right to join a union.

Here are some of your legal rights under the Act:

Unfair Labour Practice The Act provides that the employer “…shall not participate in or interfere with the formation, selection or administration of a trade union…” The law guarantees your right to join a union. It reads as follows:

No employer, employers’ organization or person acting on behalf of an employer or an employers’ organization, (a) shall refuse to employ or to continue to employ a person, or discriminate against a person in regard to employment or any term or condition of employment because the person was or is a member of a trade union or was or is exercising any other rights under this Act; (b) shall impose any condition in a contract of employment or propose the imposition of any condition in a contract of employment that seeks to restrain an employee or a person seeking employment from becoming a member of a trade union or exercising any other rights under this Act; or (c) shall seek by threat of dismissal, or by any other kind of threat, or by the imposition of a pecuniary or other penalty, or by any other means to compel an employee to become or refrain from becoming or to continue to be or to cease to be a member or officer or representative of a trade union or to cease to exercise any other rights under this Act.  Obligation to Bargain Under the Act the employer is required by law to “…make every reasonable effort” to negotiate a contract with the union. Alteration of Rights During Collective Bargaining (1) Where notice has been given under the Act and no collective agreement is in operation, no employer shall, except with the consent of the trade union, alter the rates of wages or any other term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty, of the employer, the trade union or the employees, and no trade union shall, except with the consent of the employer, alter any term or condition of employment or any right, privilege or duty of the employer, the trade union or the employees. Your Decision is Confidential By law, your decision to join the union is strictly confidential. The employer is never told who signed for the union.  This bulletin outlines some of your rights under the Labour laws. If your employer violates any of your rights, don’t hesitate to call the Union.

What Employers and Supervisors Can NOT Legally Do

1. Management cannot attend any union meetings, park across the street from a meeting place, or engage in any undercover activity, which would indicate that

the employees arre being kept under surveillance to determine who is and is not participating in the union program.

2. Management cannot tell employees that the company will fire or punish them if they engage in union activity.

3. Management cannot lay off, discharge, or discipline any employee for union activity.

4. Management cannot grant employees wage increases, special concessions, or benefits in order to keep the union out.

5. Management cannot bar employees in support of the union from soliciting employees’ memberships on or off the company property during non-working time.

6. Management cannot ask employees about union matters, meetings, etc.  (Some employees may, of their own accord, walk up and tell of such matters, but to ask questions to obtain additional information is illegal.)

7. Management cannot ask employees what they think about the union or a union representative.

8. Management cannot ask employees how they intend to vote.

9. Management cannot threaten employees with reprisal for participating in union activities.

10. Management cannot promise to increase benefits to employees if they reject the union.

11. Management cannot give financial support or other assistance to employees or groups of employees who favor or oppose the union.

12. Management cannot announce that the company will not deal with the union.

13. Management cannot threaten to, or close the shop in order to avoid dealing with a union.

14. Management cannot ask employees whether or not they belong to a union, or have signed up for union representation.

15. Management cannot ask an employee, during the hiring interview, about their affiliation with a labor organization or how they feel about unions.

16. Management cannot act in a way that might show preference for a non-union employee

17. Management cannot make distinctions between union and non-union employees when assigning overtime work or desirable work.

18. Management can NOT purposely team up non-union employees and keep them apart from those supporting the union;

19. Management cannot transfer workers on the basis of union affiliation or activities.

20. Management cannot choose employees to be laid off in order to weaken the union’s strength or discourage membership in the union.

21. Management cannot discriminate against union people when disciplining employees.

22. Management cannot by nature of work assignments, create conditions intended to get rid of an employee because of his union activity.

23. Management cannot fail to grant a scheduled benefit or wage increase because of union activity.

24. Management cannot deviate from company policy for the purpose of getting rid of a union supporter.

25. Management cannot take action that adversely affects an employee’s job or pay rate because of union activity.

26. Management cannot threaten workers or coerce them in an attempt to influence their vote.

27. Management cannot threaten a union member through a third party.

28. Management cannot promise employees a reward or a future benefit if they decide “no union”.

29. Management cannot tell employees overtime work (and premium pay) will be discontinued if the company is unionized.

30. Management cannot say unionization will force the company to lay off employees.

31. Management cannot say unionization will do away with vacations or other benefits and privileges presently in effect.

32. Management cannot promise employees promotions, raises or other benefits if they get out of the union or refrain from joining the union.

33. Management cannot start a petition or circular against the union or encourage or take part in its circulation if started by employees

34. Management cannot urge employees to try to induce others to oppose the union or keep out of it.

35. Management cannot visit the homes of employees to urge them to reject the union.

Any of the above acts constitutes a violation of the Ontario Labour Relations Act.  Therefore, YOU as a worker and a supporter of a trade union should report these acts to your union representative immediately.