A union organizing drive occurs before an employer has received an application for certification. In most industries other than the construction industry, the certification process involves three general steps in Ontario being (1) the organizing drive, (2) the application for certification and (3) the certification vote.
The first stage, the organizing drive, is normally undertaken by unions in an undisclosed manner. During this stage, the unions will often attempt to measure the employees’ interest. To do so, the union organizing campaign/drive usually involves the signing up of employees as union members through filling out union cards.
The organizing drive step is an important one for unions, and many times it occurs without the awareness of the employer. This step, many times, can last for months or in some cases even longer.
How the union and the employer approach a union organizing drive and certification process is very important, as there are restrictions on the types of actions that can be taken.
For example, an employer who responds too forcefully may then face unfair labour practice complaints or remedial certification. Employers have to be careful to avoid conduct that can amount to intimidation, threats or spying.
Employers are not without a right to voice their opinion. However, the line between lawful and unlawful conduct is thin, and care should be taken not to overstep the boundaries of permissible employer conduct.
In Ontario, failure to abide by the strict requirements of the law may result in the Labour Relation Board’s intervention and the certification of a union even in the absence of a certification vote.
How can Zeilikman Law help?
With a depth of knowledge, our experienced labour lawyers can guide you through the process of a union organizing drive and ensure that you are ready for the next step of the certification process. If necessary, we will represent you before legal proceedings in the event of a controversy or a dispute.