The Unionized Environment

The Unionized Environment

Order Description

Read the case, do some research on Ontario Labour Relations Act, answer the three questions. Please proved the specific section number of the relative regulations.

LAWS 6015 Dropbox Activity #4 (25 Marks)
Complete the following activity by Friday @ 11:59pm and submit to the Dropbox Activity #4 dropbox.
Please include a title page and proper citation in your assignment.  THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT.
Each question will be graded out of 6 marks.  An additional 7 marks will be allotted to spelling, grammar, ability to follow instructions and citation.
This is an excerpt from the following case – Emerald Foods Ltd. v. United Food
and Commercial Workers Union, Local 832 et al., 2003 MBCA 83.  This excerpt is from an Appeal case looking at the Labour Board’s decision.  Focus on the facts of the case as opposed to the grounds for appeal if you look up the case.

Emerald Foods Ltd. (Emerald) operates a grocery store called Bird’s Hill Garden Market IGA. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local No. 832 (UFCW) filed an application for certification as bargaining agent for a certain group of Emerald employees and for the conduct of a representative vote. The voting did in fact take place on Monday, August 14, 2000, with 60 of 83 eligible voters participating. The vote was evenly divided, 30 in favour of the UFCW and 30 opposed.

On August 17, 2000, the UFCW filed an application with the Board alleging an unfair labour practice on the part of Emerald, seeking a declaration to that effect and requesting that the Board exercise its authority to certify the UFCW as bargaining agent for the employees.  Emerald filed a reply denying that its actions constituted an unfair labour practice.  A hearing took place on September 29, 2000, and on October 16, 2000, the Board made the finding that an unfair labour practice had been committed and ordered that a discretionary certification be issued certifying the UFCW as bargaining agent for the unit of employees in question. The formal certificate of the Board was dated October 16, 2000. The preamble to the certificate recites the fact that:

The Board, following consideration of all material filed, evidence and argument presented at the hearing into related Case No. 561/00/LRA conducted on September 29th, 2000, was satisfied that the Employer had committed an unfair labour practice contrary to Sections 5(3), 6(1) and 17 of The Labour
Relations Act [R.S.M. 1987, c. L10], and accordingly issued Order No. 1185. As it is entitled to do pursuant to s. 143(3) of The Labour Relations Act (the Act), Emerald requested a review of the decision of the Board, but the Board affirmed its original decision.  Emerald also requested reasons for decision. For reasons which need not be explored, written reasons for the decision of the Board were not provided until July 5, 2001.  The activity which was found to constitute an unfair labour practice on the part of Emerald was the distribution of a letter to most of the employees eligible to participate in the vote. The letter was hand delivered to the employees at their residences on the day preceding the vote. The letter reads as follows:

August 11, 2000


As you know, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has applied for certification as the union to represent the employees of our store. The voting list has been determined and the vote will
occur on Monday, August 14, in the lunchroom from 9:00 – 10:30 in the morning, 1:00 – 2:30 in the afternoon, and 6:30 – 8:00 in the evening.  If more than ½ of those who vote support the union, the union will be in and all terms and conditions of employment will be negotiated between management and the union form [sic] now on. I will not be permitted to address terms and conditions with employees through the focus group. If ½ or less of those who vote support the union, the union will not be certified to represent you and the current approach to discussing and implementing changes, through our focus
group, will continue. Everyone should make an effort to vote so that your choice is counted. We also wish to clarify a misunderstanding that has come to my attention. Since June, the focus group has been considering a new wage scale and system of increments. Last week, following the focus group meeting of July 27, the proposed wage scale was posted as part of the focus group meeting minutes. This is not a proposal from the union; the union has not had any input into this wage scale. This is what the management and employee members of the focus group were considering.

In making your decision, you should have answers to some common questions that arise for employees deciding on union representation.

1. If I signed a membership card, am I required to vote for the union?
No. The vote is secret to permit every employee to vote as they choose, free from any pressure.

2. Is the union permitted to solicit my vote at this time?
Yes, until Sunday. No soliciting is permitted on the day of the vote. However, if you do not choose to speak to a supporter of the union, you are entitled to refuse. No discussion of the vote should occur during working hours.

3. Can the union guarantee me improved salary of [sic] benefits?
No. If the union is certified, any changes must be negotiated between the union and management. The
profitability and viability of this store will be the governing factor for management in all wage and benefit negotiations. Management is restricted by law in its ability to discuss the union issues with employees at this time. Therefore, all managers have been instructed to refer any questions to me. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them.

Rob Fulton

11 The Board, in the published reasons, concluded, on all of the
evidence, that the letter “was distributed with the deliberate intent to
interfere with the representation vote” (at para. 20).

1.  The Labour Board found that this was an unfair labour practice.  Looking at the Ontario Labour Relations Act and using your own words, explain why you believe the Labour Board came to this decision?
2.  In this case, the union was automatically certified.  Would this occur today?  Why or why not?
3.  From an HR perspective, do you believe it is safe to say nothing during a union certification process or to communicate to employees.  Explain why you came to the decision that you did.


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