C-525: The NDP wins major concessions

In a critical battle, the NDP has successfully driven back the Conservatives. Under heavy pressure from the NDP and facing unanimous expert testimony, the government agreed to change the voting rules for union accreditation set out in Bill C-525.

In committee last thursday, crucial amendments were made correcting the obvious errors in the bill introduced by Alberta MP Blaine Calkins.

The bill provides that a vote be held for each attempt to unionize—something we oppose—even though the card-based union accreditation system is the simplest and most effective method of organizing workers in their workplaces. Studies clearly show cards are the best way of preventing employer intimidation, blackmail and threats, making it easier for unionization campaigns to succeed.

But in addition to requiring a vote, the bill initially included rules that were completely biased against unions. Under those rules, employees who did not participate in the unionization vote would be counted as having voted against forming a union. That would be ridiculous! For example, in a business with 100 employees, if 49 people voted and all of them voted to unionize (100%), they would still lose since the 51 people who stayed home would be counted as votes against. Under these rules, no MP would ever be elected to Parliament!

Thanks to NDP pressure, we managed to make the Conservatives see reason. As a result, only votes in the ballot box will count, as in a simple, normal election. The NDP still opposes this bill, but we can breathe a sigh of relief: we avoided the worst. Thank you to everyone who supported us in this fight.

Our work continues.

Alexandre Boulerice