Executive Summary

Date Published: 5 December 2022

Written by: Howard Levitt

In recent years, we have seen a resurgence of unions as inflation has driven more employees to organize in response to lower wages and increased frustrations. However, employees should be careful what they wish for as unionization often comes with many unexpected and often counterintuitive drawbacks. One example of an unexpected and counterintuitive drawback is a reduction in job security as unionized employees are vulnerable to layoffs without any real legal recourse. This is because, under the law, unionized employees cannot sue for wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal. Another example is that the rights that supposedly come from being a member of a collective agreement are generally only enforceable at the union’s discretion. This is because unions can decide which grievances to take to arbitration. Even if the collective agreement is clearly violated, a union can decide that the case for that employee is not worth the money to the overall membership that it would cost to take to arbitration. In this article, Howard Levitt explains why the recent resurgence in unionization across Ontario may not be as positive of a development as many believe it to be.

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