Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
Canada does not have multi-union, multi-employer bargaining units; however, some sectors (notably in the construction industry and sometimes in health care) feature industry-wide bargaining. The Wagner Model also features the concept of residual management rights, which ensures that employers retain an overriding measure of control over the means and methods of production, subject only to the limitations that are bargained with the union or otherwise exist as a matter of law or practice.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
Once a union acquires bargaining rights it becomes the legally recognized exclusive agent of all employees in the bargaining unit that is determined to be appropriate for collective bargaining. This exclusive representative entitlement for a certified union applies to all employees whether or not an employee supported the union during an organizing campaign and even holds true in situations when an employee actively opposed the union. The union’s legal status as agent is not affected by whether or not an employee chooses to be a member of the union. The only relevant consideration, once the union has acquired bargaining rights, is whether or not the employee falls within the bargaining unit for which the union has been recognized or certified as the bargaining agent. In most jurisdictions, all employees in the bargaining unit are required to pay union dues, regardless of their membership in the union.
Employees’ Representation in Management
Each organization that elects to establish such a committee or board may determine its own rules and procedures, including how many employee representatives will be on the committee, and how those representatives will be appointed or elected.
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
Some employers may be required under provincial health and safety legislation to establish a joint health and safety committee (JHSC). The mandate of a JHSC is to improve health and safety conditions in the workplace by raising awareness of health and safety issues, identifying safety risks in the workplace and recommending solutions to the employer.