Ottawa, April 14, 2017 – Teamsters are calling on the Trudeau government to reject the Senate’s recent amendments to Bill C-4. The amendments deprive workers of the right to safely and easily form a union by signing union membership cards. They also go against a Liberal campaign promise to restore automatic card check certification.
“Prime Minister Trudeau, we’re calling on you to keep your election promise by sending Bill C-4 back to the Senate in its original form,” said Francois Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada. “You mustn’t allow an unelected Senate to put the interests of corporations ahead of the will of an elected government.”
What is automatic card check certification?
Automatic card check certification allowed federal workers to from a union after a majority of staff members in a given workplace signed a union membership card. It meant that workers could safely form unions, unbeknownst to unfair and sometimes abusive employers.
In 2014, the Conservative government introduced a new mandatory vote regime, which forced a vote on union representation after enough workers had signed a union membership card. Employers were notified in advance of such votes, giving them enough time to launch anti-union intimidation campaigns in the workplace.
Later, the public learnt that the Conservative government had studies showing that using a mandatory vote regime was one of the best ways to weaken unions in the Canadian business sector.
How Liberals described their promise on C-4
The Liberal Party of Canada promised to grant workers automatic card check certification during the last elections. Their platform went as far recognizing that in recent years it had become “more difficult for workers to organize freely, bargain collectively in good faith, and work in safe environments.”
In his mandate letter to Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu, Justin Trudeau characterized Bill C-4 as “a critical step for our government in restoring a fair and balanced approach to labour relations”.
Minister Hajdu has publicly acknowledged that “employer interference and, more so, fear of employer interference is a real phenomenon” for workers trying to form a union. She added that the system introduced by the Conservative government “helps companies fight [union] certification campaigns.”
Teamsters represent 125,000 workers in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations