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So much for the chamber of sober second thought

Open letter to Yukon Senator Daniel Lang

Open letter to Yukon Senator Daniel Lang:

I am writing to you to express my profound disappointment with your choice of vote of support for Bill-525, the Employees Voting Rights Act.

It should be noted that this bill was not brought forth by the minister of labour, but as private member’s bill for which employers and labour groups have stood united against. This bill will change certification and decertification procedures for unionization in the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, and the Public Service Labour Relations Acts.

Bill C-525 treads upon the proven democratic process that comes from the balance of employers, labour, and government and the stability of their tripartite consultation. It assumes that there is a need for change within the Canada Labour Code, to which there are already reliable methods to do so.

The Canada Labour Code is a well-respected statute that, as quoted from its own preamble:

“Canadian workers, trade unions and employers recognize and support freedom of association and free collective bargaining as the bases of effective industrial relations for the determination of good working conditions and sound labour-management relations.”

A bill such as C-525, which has now completed its journey through the Canadian parliamentary system, is full of errors as brought to light, both in the legislative assembly and the Senate by the many submissions from law firms, employer representatives, and labour organizations.

In a testimony from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, Chairperson Elizabeth MacPherson insisted that there have been only two complaints against unions in the 4,000 decisions in over 10 years.

The Canadian Labour Congress released in a news release titled: “Senate votes to make it harder for Canadians to join a union,” within which President Hassan Yussuff says: “This legislation is really about denying Canadian workers the right to collective bargaining with their employer. It is an invitation to employers to interfere with workers’ democratic right to choose representation, and

it will destabilize federal labour relations.”

As workers, we have the right to believe in the Canada Labour Code – that it will work for all included in the tripartite of employers, labour and government and the changes to it will be done in a consultative and consensus process.

To pass the erroneous Bill C-525 into law, without any amendments, Canada’s Senate or the house of “sober second thought” has failed Canadians.

Vikki Quocksister

President, Yukon Federation of Labour