Summary of how the Tory re-election program deals with unions: "The Road Ahead" for a "Worker's Bill of Rights"
Here are some more detailed labour law related highlights from “The Road Ahead”, the Tory re-election platform.
The Tories promise that:
We will introduce a Worker’s Bill of Rights to support working Ontarians, giving them a real, democratic vote in major union decisions, and the right to detailed information about union finances and operations.
In Policy Paper #18, “A Worker’s Bill of Rights” they promise:
Having power means taking responsibility. We believe that institutions that have the power to control your money or make decisions on your behalf must prove they are acting responsibly, and must be accountable to the people involved. If it is your money or your life being affected, you are entitled to full
disclosure of what is happening and to a say in how your money is spent.
We’ve imposed that principle on our own government and public services, with tough consumer protection rules for businesses, and through high standards for openness and responsibility for corporate officials. Now, in the same spirit, we will pass a Workers’ Bill of Rights.
Our Worker’s Bill of Rights will include…:
· Guaranteeing members a say in how their union spends their money. We will require a binding vote of the members on all expenditures outside of normal operational costs. For example, one union sponsors a NASCAR racing car. Other unions reimburse union officials when they are fined for breaking the law. In each
case, the Bill of Rights would allow union members to approve or reject the expenditure.
· Requiring real membership approval of major union decisions. The Bill of Rights will require a clear majority of the bargaining unit to approve strikes, ratify contracts or change union dues or fees.
It appears legislation will narrowly define “normal operational costs” and then require all member referendums for additional expenditures or revenues. Expect a referendum to be required to:
The OFL has protested this amendment as an unjustifiable intrusion into the democratic activities of unions, and as bad for charities. The OFL has reminded Mr. Eves that:
The Supreme Court of Canada in the Lavigne case [Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union (1991) 2 S.C.R. 211] recognized the importance of trade unions engaging in a wide variety of activities which extend beyond collective bargaining activities. Further, they held that placing restrictions on the way
unions spend their dues will lead to “interminable problems” and jeopardize effective and harmonious labour relations.
The OFL states:
It is the position of the Ontario Federation of Labour that any legislation enacted to bring into effect these proposals restricts the freedom of trade unions to express themselves guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, these proposals unfairly single out trade unions in imposing
spending restrictions which do not apply to employers in the province.
The main points in the rest of the Worker’s Bill of Rights are:
allowing unions to be sued (they already can be)
requiring more detailed financial disclosure
toughening the penalties for failing to disclose salaries over $100,000
allowing Ontario unions to “break away” from U.S. parent unions
It is all on the web at www.ontariopc.com
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