British Columbia’s Labour Code is important to every worker in B.C.
The Labour Code answers a basic question: do workers have the right to band together into unions to bargain with their employer?
Depending on the way the Code is written, the answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no.
Between 2001 and 2017, the BC Liberals designed the Labour Code for employers who wanted to keep unions out. In February 2018, the NDP government announced a review of the Code. They invited citizens to provide input — in writing and in person.
IUOE Local 115 responded on March 19, 2018. We made these proposals, among others:
- A return to card based certifications. This will allow employees the freedom to choose to belong to a Union without employer interference.
- A restriction on employer interference in certification drives (restore former Sections 6 & 8). Our union has undertaken many organizing drives which have been defeated by aggressive employer campaigns.
- Limits on the ability to contract below Employment Standards minimums. Some so-called unions work with employers to contract below employment standards minimums. This punishes legitimate employers and unions.
- A prohibition on “partial decertification”. This tactic allows employers to divide groups of workers and then destroy the union piece by piece. Unions are not allowed to build bargaining units piece by piece; they are obliged to sign up bargaining units as a whole.
Local 115 also called for an independent review of construction labour relations. The construction industry operates under special conditions, where workers are mobile, work is project-based, and employers are grouped together in shifting patterns.
Representatives from our Local appeared before the Labour Code Review Panel during their public hearings. We shared our experience with the Labour Code and responded to questions.
The Review Panel published its report in October 2018, and the government invited responses from interested parties with a deadline of November 30, 2018.
Our union, and other Building Trades unions, will continue to work for a Labour Code that is fair, consistent and balanced.