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Decertification & Unfair Union Representation

For Employees


In certain circumstances, you have the right to vote out or “decertify” your union. Decertification of a union basically means eliminating the union. This can happen when a majority of employees no longer support the union or no longer wish to have the union represent them. In order to decertify your union, you must comply with strict guidelines prescribed in each province’s labour relation acts. Decertification can be complicated, especially if there is already a collective agreement in place. You will need to build support from other members, prepare the applicable forms, and deliver the forms to both the labour board and the employer.

Additionally, you can take complaints about a wide range of employment issues to various labour boards. If you are part of a union, you have specific rights and obligations as an employee. If your employer violates your rights under the collective agreement, it is the union’s job to bring a grievance on your behalf. It is your legal right to be represented by your union fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination. As the union is required to serve as your representative, this right applies to nearly every action that a union may take in dealing with an employer.

You can bring the following complaints to labour boards:

  • Wages
  • Working conditions
  • Hours
  • Overtime
  • Vacation or sick day entitlement
  • Termination and severance pay
  • Wrongful termination

You have the right to have any complaint about your employer honestly considered by the union. If you feel as though your union has treated you unfairly, you may be able to bring a claim for a breach of the union’s duty of fair representation.

Just like your employer cannot discriminate against you because of you race, religion, sex, age, or disability etc., your union cannot distinguish among employees in a bargaining unit unless there are legitimate reasons for doing so. Similarly, your union must not make decisions about you that are motivated by ill-will. Any union activity that is influenced by revenge, dishonesty or gross negligence will be a violation of various labour relation acts. The union cannot act in an arbitrary manner in determining whether to pursue your grievance.

Why choose Labour Lawyers at Levitt LLP?

Let our labour lawyers help you with any problems you have with your union.

Decertification can be an extremely difficult process, especially in Ontario. Let our labour lawyers make sure you are abiding by the appropriate timing schedules and completing the necessary forms to your advantage. Similarly, filing a complaint against your union can be complicated and intimidating. In many hearings involving claims against the union, both the union and employer may be present to refute your position. Our labour lawyers can forcefully represent you to the Board to ensure that you properly advocated for, and have the support necessary to proceed with your claim.

Our labour lawyers are well-versed in the complex labour relation legislation and understand the best strategies and procedures for successfully arguing against your union. Our labour lawyers can use our tools and expertise to navigate the system and help you achieve a just outcome. Each situation is unique; so schedule a consultation today with one of our labour lawyers in Toronto, the GTA or across Canada to learn about your options.




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