Toronto Labour Lawyers Advising Employers on Union Organizing Drives

A union certification drive can have a major impact on a workplace, regardless of the ultimate outcome.  Non-unionized employers who are faced with the prospect of unionization often have a multitude of questions about what they can expect once an organizing process begins.  It is important for employers to think proactively, act carefully, and understand what they can and cannot say during the unionization process, or they risk an unfair labour practice finding.

At Grosman Gale Fletcher Hopkins LLP we have been advising employers on labour relations questions, including unionization and related matters such as collective bargaining, union certification, and unfair labour practices for over 40 years. We are recognized by our peers as subject matter experts, and we rely on our reputation for excellence to advise clients on managing their risk while maintaining positive labour relations in their workplace.

Positive Obligations for the Employer

Once a union applies to represent an identified group of employees in a workplace, the employer is obligated to recognize that union, meet with them, negotiate a collective agreement, and comply with its other obligations. The unionization process takes place very quickly, with strict deadlines for compliance set by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

It is crucial for employers to participate in the process and create a dialogue with the union. This will set the tone for future labour relations in that workplace, and will allow both parties to discuss working conditions and other terms of employment. If an employer chooses not to respond, or not to participate in the process, the OLRB will make binding decisions in the employer’s absence.

Unfair Labour Practices

Every employee is entitled to join a trade union. As such, the Ontario Labour Relations Act, which governs most workplaces in the province, prohibits any conduct on the part of the employer or any other individual that might interfere with this right.

Once a union certification campaign begins, the employer must not take any action that would obstruct the union’s communication and relationship with the employees in the workplace. Many employers believe that this means they are not allowed to communicate with their employees about unions at all. This is not entirely correct. Employers must simply act with caution and understand the boundaries of what is permissible to address. Consulting with a knowledgeable labour lawyer will provide clarity with respect to what can and cannot be done or said during the unionization process.  At Grosman Gale Fletcher Hopkins LLP our experienced lawyers regularly advise clients on best practices during union drives and help manage their risk.

Common unfair labour practice complaints that arise during certification include:

  • Closing down operations in anticipation of certification, or during the certification process;
  • Asking employees whether they voted for or against the union;
  • Making direct or indirect threats about an employee`s continued employment;
  • Laying off, disciplining, or terminating an employee due to that employee’s support for the union.

Contact the Trusted Labour Lawyers at Grosman Gale Fletcher Hopkins LLP for Legal Advice on Union Organizing Drives

If you are an employer facing a union organizing drive, contact one of the experienced labour lawyers at Grosman Gale Fletcher Hopkins LLP as soon as possible. We can outline what you can expect, help guide you through the process, and help manage your risk and liability while ensuring that your business can continue to function without disruption. We have been advising unionized and non-unionized employers for over 40 years. Contact us at 416-364-9599 or online to schedule a consultation.