QUEEN’S PARK –MPP Jim McDonell aims to deliver a hammer blow for democracy with his second try at reforming labour-union certification in the construction sector.
“Workers deserve the right to have a democratic vote on whether to certify their workplace with a union or not,” McDonell said in a release earlier this month after the reintroduction of his private member’s bill, previously presented to the provincial legislature last session.
According to the MPP, the “card-check” rule now in force at Ontario construction companies allows a majority of workers present on site, however few, to certify a whole shop. “For instance, two employees working on a holiday certified a small Eastern Ontario contractor of approximately 50 employees without giving the rest of them any say whatsoever. This is not fair to workers, or employers.”
Should it pass into law, McDonell’s bill would ensure “all employees of a business can have a say in whether their workplace becomes unionized.” His proposed legislation has one “clear directive,” he said: “All workers can and should have the right to vote on their certification.”
The bill would also make further changes to proceedings involving allegations of unfair practices, determining that the burden of proof lies on the accuser.
“Justice is justice,” he commented. “Unfair practices in labour relations exist on both sides of the certification debate, pinning the blame by default on the employer is not conducive to a trusting or cooperative relationship between the employees and the employer”.
The bill makes no amendment to the mandatory collection of union dues from workers in certified workplaces.
“This is solely a matter of giving a say to workers who, otherwise, would have no voice in whether their previously open shop becomes unionized or not,” the MPP concluded.