Legal News

Employer's conduct during organizing drive justifies automatic certification

An employer’s campaign to thwart a union organizing drive has led to the automatic certification of the union by the B.C. Labour Relations Board.

After becoming aware of the organizing drive, the employer issued written reprimands to union organizers without proper cause, increased employees’ hourly wage rates, introduced an employee profit sharing initiative and prohibited pro-union campaigning while at the same time allowing employees to put up post-it notes in the workplace with the letters “N” and “O”.

The union filed an unfair labour practice complaint. The Labour Relations Board held that, but for the employer’s conduct, the union would have had sufficient support for certification. It therefore automatically certified the union. The Board also ordered the employer to provide the union with access to employees, space on a lunchroom bulletin board and an employee list.

The decision highlights the perils an employer may face if it takes overt steps to oppose an organizing drive. To counter unfair labour practices committed by an employer, the Labour Relations Board may order a range of remedies, including providing the union access to employees and, in extreme cases, ordering automatic certification.

Trevor J. Lowe Holdings Ltd. (Canadian Tire Associate Store) and UFCW, Local 1518, BCLRB No. B212/2005, August 18, 2005.

For an overview of the permissible bounds of employer free speech during a union organizing driver, see Harris & Company’s report of the Board’s decision in RMH Teleservices International Inc.

(Click here for text of Decision)