05 July 2012

A latent political bomb #nlpoli

A few employers have noticed changes to the province’s Labour Relations Act that slipped quietly through the House at the end of the last session.

A story in the Telegram on Wednesday focuses on the construction business but some others are quietly pissed off and trying to figure out what they can do about the bill.

One provision that is going up their noses is the one that allows automatic certification if a union can get a percentage of a workforce to sign union cards.  Once they cross over the magical number, the union is automatically declared to be the bargaining agent.

The provision the government got rid of required a vote by secret ballot to confirm the choice of the union. It’s been around since the late 1970s or 1980s, according to the amendment notes to the version of the Act available online.

Now if you listen to someone like Lana Payne you will get nothing but a pretty dusty piece of union bullshit about employers oppressing workers, hating unions and some such. That’s what she gave the Telegram for their story.

Unions will like this provision since it makes it really easy for them to set up shop. But in a province where the union leadership, like Payne, can be as much a reactionary force as anything else in the society, workers should be worried about anything that strips them of a basic democratic right:  to make a choice by secret ballot.

Watch for this labour bill to turn into a smouldering issue.