BC Liberal MLA Greg Kyllo, Opposition Critic for Labour, in response to the NDP’s decision to eliminate the secret ballot, said in a statement: “The secrecy of a person’s ballot is a fundamental democratic right — whether we are voting for our elected representatives or voting to join a union.” adding “the NDP’s pattern of secrecy continues to get worse”
Since the NDP formed government, John Horgan made it known as soon as he has the power and opportunity to scrap the secret ballot for union certification and bring in a “card checks” system he will.
Changes to the Labour Relations Code were made earlier this month to allow a majority of workers to unionize in a single step process.
The current two-step process requires at least 45 per cent of the workers to sign membership cards showing they want to unionize, confirmed by a secret-ballot vote.
If 45 to 55 per cent of workers agree to join the union it is then required to have a secret vote. This will allow workers who originally agreed to join the union a chance to to vote against it if they change their minds.
With the amendments, a union would be certified right away if 55 per cent or more employees sign membership cards. But would still required secret ballot box if 45 to 55 percent employees sign the cards.
Kyllo says the one-step “card check” system benefits the NDP’s union backers, which he says have been pressuring government to bring in a way to recruit members.
“This is the latest example of the NDP paying off their friends and insiders, through union labour agreements that are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in project cost overruns.” Said Kyllo
“Many of the major unions who have been (Premier John Horgan’s) strong political and financial supporters have seen their membership slowly wane over the last 20 years,” says Kyllo.
“Union organizers will be unrestricted as to where, when, and how often they can approach workers and pressure them to support unionization,” says Kyllo.
Kyllo said the “shameful and self-serving” move goes against the government’s own 2018 Labour Relations Code review panel report, as well as a poll that found 79% support for maintaining secret ballots.
“Bill 10 will also allow ‘union raiding’ in the construction industry every summer, meaning unions can entice workers to switch unions in the middle of the busiest part of the construction season,” Kyllo wrote.
“This is the latest example of the NDP paying off their friends and insiders, through union labour agreements that are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in project cost overruns.”
This will create “chaos and uncertainty” on job sites, he predicts.
“While B.C. is in the midst of an ongoing housing and affordability crisis, the changes could also drive up costs and further delay vital commercial, residential and infrastructure projects.”
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association said in a statement the changes could expose workers to coercion.
“The secret ballot allows both sides to present their case when it comes to union certification, and the process is carefully monitored for fairness by the Labour Relations Board,” said president Chris Gardner.