Union activity in the workplace: The real rules

PSAC members have the right to promote and build our union in the workplace. Members have the right to be kept informed on the employer’s premises during non-work time, before or after shifts and during paid or unpaid breaks and lunch periods. This is the law.

Members have the right to:

  • Read union literature. Members can also sign petitions and share information about the union’s campaigns during non-working time.
  • Talk union. Members can talk to co-workers about the union at work as they would any other subject – and help keep everyone informed about PSAC activities.
  • Hand out leaflets before and after work. Members can distribute materials outside or inside the workplace. Even if the entrance is in a commercial area, members have a legal right to engage in this activity. The employer is prohibited from interfering with these lawful union activities.
  • Desk drops. Members can “drop” information at members’ work stations, providing they have permission from the employer. With the employer's permission, the union may distribute publications that reflect the union’s perspective on workplace issues, as long as the information is accurate and non-defamatory. This is a great way to invite members to information sessions, provide updates on union business and recruit new volunteers.
  • Post information on union bulletin boards. Collective agreements generally allow members to use workplace bulletin boards for union purposes. Make these boards “communication central” for the union by keeping them up to date. Remember to include contact information for local representatives.
  • Wear the union message. Members can wear buttons, lanyards, stickers, t-shirts and other items that communicate the union’s message. Even if members wear a uniform, there are ways of wearing a union message!
  • If management interferes with the rights of members or discourages them from participating in our union in any way, stewards must take action:
    • get information from the affected member(s)
    • contact their supervisor to resolve the issue
    • if there is no satisfactory response, file a grievance
    • if management insists on interfering, advise the member to comply and then grieve.
  • If management interferes with your rights or discourages you from participating in our union in any way, contact your steward, local officer, component or PSAC regional office.

April 25, 2013
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