Employment & Labour Law
Labour Law

Labour Law

Kane Shannon Weiler Can Advise Employers on Union Matters

Michael Weiler joined the KSW Employment and Labour Group on October 1st 2019 as a senior member. Mike has 40+ years’ experience in dealing with union matters under the Code as well as the Canada Labour Code. Mike and Jesse Dunning will be able to provide union and non-union employers with advice and representation:

  • Advising on strategies that recognize the value of your employees and arranging your business to ensure a union does not get a toe-hold
  • Planning for the above noted changes in labour laws
  • Defeating union organizing drives and applications for certification of your employees
  • Defending clients charged with unfair labour practices
  • Applying for the necessary relief from picketing or strikes
  • Acting as spokesperson for employers in collective bargaining
  • Advising how to successfully operate in a union environment
  • Representing employers in arbitration and mediation

The NDP has a well-known affiliation with the traditional union movement in BC. The Minister of Labour has a strong background as a union leader. So it has come as no surprise that a number of major legislative changes have been introduced by the NDP in 2019 with the backing of the Green party.  Those changes include increasing the minimum wage, creating a Foreign Worker Registry, amending the Human Rights Code, amending WCB policies following two reviews with a third review on the way all working towards a “worker centric” model, and granting the Building Trade Unions preferential exclusive treatment on major projects in BC including the Pattullo Bridge project where the extra costs of the Project Agreement are estimated to be $100 million.In June 2019 the NDP introduced major changes to the Labour Relations Code in Bill 30. Those changes included:

  • Although the secret ballot vote was maintained (at least for now) thanks to the Green party, changes were made to expedite the certification process to make it easier for unions to certify employers. A representation vote must now be held within 5 business days. As a result employers now have far less time to influence their employees and properly respond to a certification application.
  • Employer free speech has been greatly limited.
  • Providing unions with enhanced ability to obtain a remedial certification without a secret ballot vote where there have been employer unfair labour practices.
  • Significant changes were made to the successorship provisions where employers/owners contract out certain services specified in the amended Code and then retender the contracts. Now the new contractor may find itself a successor to the old contractor and be bound by the previous contractor’s collective agreement and certification. In effect the certification becomes attached to the business and not to employees.
  • The period during which an employer is prohibited from altering pay or other terms of employment following certification is now extended from 4 months to 12 months. Also under this section of the Code employers must have “proper cause” for termination.
  • Additionally, if an application is made to the Board under section 55 [seeking assistance from a mediator], and the mediation process does not conclude before the end of the 12 month freeze, the employer will not be allowed to alter pay or other terms of employment until the section 55 process has been concluded. The 12 month period may be extended in a first time contract situation under section 55.
  • Bill 30 removed the requirement that a strike vote be taken before applying for the appointment of a mediator in connection with a first collective agreement. Additionally, if a union has been automatically certified, the mediator or associate chair will now consider the parties’ conduct before and after certification when recommending a process or directing a method to resolve a dispute relating to the conclusion of a first collective agreement.
  • The penalty for refusing or neglecting to observe or carry out an order made under the Code is increased from $1,000 to $5,000 for an individual and from $10,000 to $50,000 for a corporation, union or employers’ organization.
  • Significant changes have been made to the “raid” provisions of the Code. A raiding union may now apply to have the collective agreement of the predecessor union declared void and then force the employer to renegotiate a new collective agreement.
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Contact our Team of Employment & Labour Lawyers

Contact our firm at 604-591-7321, 604-336-7423 or 877-738-3797 toll free to discuss your labour law needs with an experienced lawyer. You can also email us to schedule an in-person consultation. We offer in-depth services across a broad range of employment law matters. Our Employment & Labour Group lawyers include Chris D. Drinovz, Michael Weiler, Melanie Booth and Jesse Dunning

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