Senate passes bill making it harder to unionize, despite its errors

The Senate has passed Bill C-525, a law that will make it harder for workers to unionize in the federal sector.

Senators on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee heard no evidence to prove the bill was necessary.  The Committee also discovered errors in the Bill, yet voted against the necessary changes to fix it.

If the Senate makes changes to a bill from the House of Commons, it must be returned to the House for debate and another vote. In the case of Bill C-525, Conservative Senators were fearful the bill would be delayed and not passed into law if this occurred.

“The Conservative majority on the Committee was so eager to pass an anti-union bill that they chose to ignore the errors of law,” said National President Robyn Benson. 

Once the law comes into force in 2015, PSAC will be monitoring the mandatory votes that will be required when workers in the federal sector opt to join our union. “We don’t intend to let this law be used to intimidate workers who want to unionize, and we won’t let it stop us from organizing workers into unions,” said Benson.

Both Members of Parliament and Senators were warned by union and employer representatives, and by labour relations experts, that great harm is done when changes to labour laws are rushed through without an extensive consultation process with all the stakeholders — unions, employers and government. 

The PSAC will be calling on the opposition parties to revoke the changes made to federal labour law through Bill C-525 and to respect the established consultative process if they form the next government.

The Canadian Labour Congress, in a recent statement, has called Bill C-525 an invitation to employers to interfere with workers’ democratic rights and deny them the right to bargain collectively with their employer. 

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December 16, 2014
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