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Canadian Organizing

Different employees want union representation for different reasons.

Some want better wages.

Some want better working conditions.

Some want health insurance and retirement benefits.

Some want the protection of an organization to represent them with the employer.

Without union representation, employers can pay you anything they want, from minimum wage on up.  There is no law that requires them to pay anything more than minimum wage.

Wages

Just over 30.4% of Canadian workers, almost 1 in 3, are union members. Union workers routinely earn higher wages than non-union workers, as evidenced in The Canadian Labour Congress report, The Union Advantage, 2014.

On average, unionized workers earned $5.28/hour more than non-union employees. Women with unions earned more too ($7.10/hour) and got paid more fairly. Workers under age 25 earned an extra 27% from jobs covered by a collective agreement.

The union advantage put an extra $43.2 billion more in the local economy to support local businesses and community services.

For specific info on your province, click here.

For specific info on your community, click here.

Benefits

Without union representation and a contract, an employer has no obligation to provide you with benefits such as health care coverage or retirement savings plans. If you are working non-union, you know this to be true.

Which Employees Receive Benefits

Union Employees

Non-Union Employees

Pension / Group RRSP

82.8%

32.9%

Supplemental Health Care

83.7%

44.4%

Dental Care

77.0%

41.9%

Paid Sick Leave

77.2%

44.7%

Paid Vacation Leave

84.1%

65.3%

Source: Labour Force Survey

Protection

Without union representation, you can be fired for any reason - or no reason at all.  The I.A.T.S.E. has been successful in negotiating contracts that provide protection for employees from being disciplined or discharged by employers, without just cause.  In addition, there are representatives who, if you wish, can represent you in your problems with management.  You do not have to confront the employer over his failure to properly pay you or for unfairly disciplining you.

You Have the Right to Join to a Union!

Federal and provincial laws clearly state that you have the right to join a union.  Below are the relevant excerpts from Canadian Codes and/or Acts.

Canada Labour Code:

“Every employee is free to join the trade union of his/her choice and to participate in its lawful activities.”

Alberta Labour Relations Act:

“An employee has the right

a) to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its lawful activities, and

b) to bargain collectively with his employer through a bargaining agent.”

British Columbia Labour Code:

"Every employee is free to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its lawful activities”

Manitoba Labour Relations Act:

“Every employee has the right

a) to be a member of a union;

b) to participate in the activities of a union; and

c) to participate in the organization of a union."

New Brunswick Industrial Relations Act:

“Every employee has the right to be a member of a trade union and to participate in the lawful activities thereof.”

Newfoundland Labour Relations Act:

“An employee has the right to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its activities.”

Nova Scotia Trade Union Act:

“Every employee has the right to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its activities.”

Ontario Labour Relations Act:

“Every person is free to join a trade union of the person’s own choice and to participate in its lawful activities.”

Prince Edward Island Labour Act:

“Every employee has the right to be a member of a trade union and to participate in the lawful activities thereof.”

Québec Labour Code:

“Every employee has the right to belong to the association of employees of his choice, and to participate in the formation, activities and management of such association.”

Saskatchewan Trade Union Act:

“Employees have the right to organize in and to form, join or assist trade unions and to bargain collectively through a trade union of their own choosing; and the trade union designated or selected for the purpose of bargaining collectively by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for that purpose shall be the exclusive representative of all employees in that unit for the purpose of bargaining collectively."

Under a union contract everyone works under the same set of rules. This builds a stronger community of workers. The more united you are, the more effectively you can pursue your common interests.

This is the “Why?” of organizing. On this site, we will also explore the “How?” of organizing.