Member Update / Impact:

Following two years of advocacy from RCC, the Newfoundland and Labrador government passed legislation on June 5, 2014 to reinstate mandatory secret ballot voting on union certification in the province. The legislation brings balance back to labour relations and the union certification process.

What RCC Did / Next Steps:

Over the past two years, RCC has met with the Premier’s Office and numerous cabinet Ministers on this issue. RCC has been consistent in its message that secret ballots allow for a true, democratic expression of an employee’s choice of whether or not they wish to unionize. The loss in 2012 of the secret vote combined with the incentive of automatic card-based certification gave unions the potential to exert a tremendous amount of pressure on employees to vote in favor of unionization.

The reinstatement of the secret ballot provisions shows the willingness of interim Premier, Honourable Tom Marshall to listen to the valid concerns of the business community.

Background:

In 2012, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador quietly introduced and passed legislative amendments that, among other changes, eliminated secret ballot provisions while voting on union certification while allowing automatic card-based union certification with a 65% threshold. The business community was neither informed nor consulted regarding the 2012 amendments. The amendments were introduced and passed in only three days. The legislature was then adjourned for five months.

Former Premier Kathy Dunderdale was seen as the architect of these amendments. Despite two years of advocacy against this action from RCC, the entire business community and many members of her own caucus, Premier Dunderdale refused to reinstate the secret ballot voting provisions.

On January 22, 2014, following years of mounting opposition from her Party and the general public, Premier Dunderdale resigned as Premier and PC Party leader.

Ironically, it only took three days for Premier Marshall’s government to introduce and pass last week’s amendments to reinstate the secret ballot provisions for voting on union certification. Following passage of these amendments, the legislature adjourned for the summer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Cormier at: [email protected] or 902-422-4144