Friday, 11 January 2008

Another government violates the Charter Right to freedom of association of workers

Another ground breaking decision regarding the Charter Rights of workers and their unions has been handed down. The decision found that legislation, unilaterally implemented by the Jean Charest government, in Quebec violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

One of my favourite quotes from the decision is:
"[This legislation] was likely going to have a dramatic and exceptional effect on the rights of employees. The government adopted it knowing perfectly well that the unions were strongly opposed to certain aspects of the legislation, without considering other means that would have allowed it to achieve its objectives, and without explaining its choices.…"

From the Lancaster House web-site:

"Charter right to freedom of association violated by Quebec legislation, court holds

Posted January 10, 2008

A Quebec Superior Court judge has invalidated portions of a controversial Quebec law forcing contentious groups of workers in the health care and social services sector to bargain together, and requiring that certain issues be bargained locally, rather than leaving it to negotiations between the parties. Applying a recent ground-breaking decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the judge found that the impugned provisions violated the workers' right to freedom of association guaranteed by s.2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because they constituted a substantial and unjustified interference with collective bargaining."
(read more)

11 comments:

Trent said...

Larry,

I find it ironic that a union leader from Saskatchewan would have the nerve to mention a workers rights being violated when I think about what my brother went through fighting for his rights. I know you remember the case, my brother was, and still is, a member of both the carpenters union and the operating engineers. The carpenters business manager, Bob Todd,(you may remember Bob from the front page of the Star Phoenix a few years back when he was convicted of savagely beating his girlfriend)
took issue with this and revoked his membership in the carpenters union, local 1985. My brother fought it under the grounds that they were interfering with his right to belong a union. After a long fight, in which he was threatened by labour board member Leo Lancaster during the hearing, as well as enduring numerous attempts of intimidation and being called "sweet pea" by several union leaders how where present at the hearing, my brother won.
What I found most interesting is that the majority of the cases brought before the Saskatchewan Labour Board are not employees complaining about employers, but rather union members with grievances against their union.
I know you will most likely delete this comment for some trumped up reason, but in the interest of democracy and free speech, could you respond professionally to it?
Thank you

Trent said...

P.S. If Mr. Lancaster, or anyone else, would like to sue me for my statements, please, by all means proceed.

Larry Hubich said...

Trent,

I do not know who you are, or who your brother is. I am not familiar with the case you are alluding to.

I have read the Todd (assault) cases heard at Queen's Bench and the Provincial Court. So I am familiar with them.

The labour movement is not immune from these types of situations, just as business and other organizatons are not immune.

I do not condone illegal activity of any sort - regardless of who is involved.

As for your suggestion that the majority of cases in front of the Labour Relations Board are "union members with grievances against their union" - that statement is inaccurate and untrue.

The annual reports of the SLRB do not support your allegation. You can download the annual reports from 1998 to the present at:

http://sasklabourrelationsboard.com/annual-report.htm

I will not be deleting your comments. I only exercise that option when people who comment on this blog cross the line and use inappropriate or hateful language.

Trent said...

[1] In Timothy Lalonde v. United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of
America, Local 1985, [2004] Sask. L.R.B.R. 244, LRB File No. 222-02 (hereinafter
referred to as “Lalonde 2004”), the Board found that the United Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 1985 (the “UBCJA Local 1985”) committed
unfair labour practices in violation of ss. 11(2)(a) and 36.1 of The Trade Union Act,
R.S.S. 1978, c. T-17 (the “Act”), in expelling the present Applicant, Timothy Lalonde,
from membership pursuant to a constitutional ban on members of the UBCJA Local
1985 belonging to a competing union.

If you care to check out the following link Larry, you will find that I am correct when I say that the majority of cases are not employees filing complaints against employers, but rather members filing grievances against their unions.http://www.sasklabourrelationsboard.com/recent-board-decisions/recent-board-decisions.htm
I know that in many cases the union files against the employer on behalf of the union member, but the number of grievances against unions in this province is astouding, to say the least.
Now, in most cases the union comes in with a lawyer and just rolls right over the union member who can ill afford legal representation without remortgaging their home and raiding their RRSP's. After all, if we could all afford our own labour lawyers we wouldn't need unions, now would we?

There was a case a few years back in which a woman had to go to the supreme court of Canada in order to get her job back when she reported two union leaders for filing false expense reports. She won. the NDP government at the time, for some reason, chose not to pursue charges against the union leaders even though it was proven in court that they had in fact falsified their expense reports. And you what these people running our province?

Larry Hubich said...

Trent,

Thank you for your comments.

I checked your link, and what it reveals is this:

There are 28 decisions listed there. Of the 28 cases the breakdown is as follows:

15 of the cases are Union/Employee v. Employer/Company.

8 of the cases are Employee v. Employer/Company & Union.

3 of the cases are Employee v. Union only.

1 of the cases is Employer/Company v. Union.

And there is 1 other: i.e. CUPE vs. U of S Students Union.

I am familiar with the final case you refer to. The SFL, and me in particular were not involved in any way, shape or form.

I do not sit on the executive of any political party in this province or country - so I can't answer for any of them.

Trent said...

While I may disagree with you on many things, Larry, I always respect the way you respond to comments and questions. Thank you.

Janice said...

"I will not be deleting your comments. I only exercise that option when people who comment on this blog cross the line and use inappropriate or hateful language".

Not true, Larry. You deleted one of my posts and I do not use inappropriate or hateful language.

In one of the recent LRB annual reports - maybe 2 or possibly 3 year ago, the LRB noted the increase in the number of worker v. union cases. I see from the above figures that there are 11 decisions in this regard, and 15 union v. employer. Does the union v. employer include certification requests?

This province needs some legislation in regard to worker/union relationships. It is extremely difficult to bring charges against a union, and seldom does the LRB find in favour of a worker. The case that I think of as "Dora Pineda" nearly broke my heart. I felt so bad for her and her family. I think part of the ruling was "The union recruiter was recently trained, so we are sure that he would not have made intimidating remarks. And even if he had, no reasonable person would have believe it. And besides, they didn't sign a card". What nonsense, part of union recruiter training is to teach them how to word things so that the worker is intimidated. i.e. "You will have to sign a card anyway, why not just sign one now." Then, when someone with knowledge says: "No we don't, even if you are certified, we don't have to join." recruiter: "Well, I didn't mean that you have to join, I meant that you will be represented by the union....." However, if no-one with knowledge is there to refute the initial claim, the unknowing worker believes the union reruiter.

And the worker either represents himself or he pays for two lawyers, one for himself and one for the union (by way of union funds, to which he contributes).

Larry Hubich said...

Janice,

In the 11 months that I have run this blog I have only deleted 3 or perhaps 4 comments (other than those of my own which I needed to make typo changes on and re-post).

All of those (3 or 4) that I deleted had either inappropriate or hateful comments on them. And NEVER did I ever delete one from "Janice".

I have a record of the comments which have been deleted.

You must have this blog confused with a different one.

Janice said...

Nope, it was this blog although not this topic. When I saw that the post deleted said "deleted by author", I came back to this one to correct what I thought may have been an error on part; specifically that I had accidentally deleted my own post (not particularly computer literate, and over tired and stressed out last week). When I started to delete my post here, I realized that there was no way I that I had accidentally deleted my other post.

Maybe something weird happened and I didn't post it properly, somehow deleted rather than posting it, but I know I didn't delete it after posting it.

Anyway, on to more important issues.. have you read the Dora Pineda decision? If not, I might be able to call up a link to.

Larry Hubich said...

Janice,

That comment deletion must have been something you did or didn't do. If it says "deleted by author" then it would have been deleted by the person who wrote it - i.e. you.

If I delete something that I am not the author of it says either "deleted by moderator" or it says nothing.

I have every one of your messages that have been posted to the blog in a separate folder on my computer. I get an e-mail copy of each one as they are posted, and I keep them in an archive. I do this for all messages posted and haven them sorted by individual authors. I can forward you what I have via separate e-mail. Just send me an e-mail with your address and I will send them to you, if you'd like.

I am not familiar with the Dora Pineda decision. Was it LRB, arbitration, or the courts?

Janice said...

Like I said, I may have inadvertently deleted it, although I don't see how as it seems to be at least a two process. Oh well.

Dora Pineda is an LRB decision. She and her husband charged the union with intimidation during a union drive. The case made me very, very angry as the LRB made excuses for the behavior of the union rep who was heading the drive, and took their usual "no harm done" attitude because the Pineda's did not sign cards. If they had signed cards, the LRB would then have claimed that since any reasonable person knows that what the union rep said was not accurate, they must have really wanted to sign cards and know they have changed their minds because the company must have done something to influence them.