In April, the British Columbia government introduced legislation that would change the Labour Relations Code and allow automatic certification in union organizing campaigns. This change would make it much easier for unions to become the legal workplace representative for employees. The usual pro-business pro-management organizations – Chambers of Commerce, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Business Council of BC – are complaining that this change would “weaken the democratic right for workers to exercise choice through a secret ballot”. The Business Council has also sent a letter to BC Premier John Horgan with a lengthy list of complaints about the legislation’s potential impacts. And the “non-partisan” Fraser Institute has called the proposed legislation “unfair to workers”.
At best, these statements are misleading. At worse, they reflect an implicit belief that unions can only hurt businesses’ operations and profitability – a belief which is also highly inaccurate.
To understand why these statements are so troubling, it’s useful to know what automatic certification is. When a union (more…)