It is a big day for the workers at Kirchhoff. Today we’ve applied for certification at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)! Over the last number of months, you and your co-workers have built the support required to win a representation vote at your workplace. All of you have been anxiously waiting to join thousands of other manufacturing and auto workers who already benefit from Unifor membership and who have bargained strong collective agreements.
When workers apply for certification with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, their current wages, benefits and working conditions are protected by law under the “freeze provision.” Section 86 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA). This legislation covers workers once a union has applied for a certification vote and until a collective agreement is reached or the vote is unsuccessful. The freeze provision ensures that your terms and conditions cannot be altered by an employer during this period without your consent. That’s the Law!
This sets in place a countdown to a vote for employees about whether they want to join Unifor. The Labour Board will review our application and make a ruling in the coming days that will officially set the date and times of the vote, but you can expect the day to be within the next 5 to 7 business days.
We expect the board will order an electronic vote. The vote is conducted by the labour board. They work with an independent, impartial provider who is experienced and has conducted votes for other Unions, Government Agencies, Municipalities, and Political Parties. The process and the system are the same as an in-person vote, It’s confidential and your employer will never know how you voted.
Throughout this campaign, workers at Kirchhoff have talked to us about:
- Low wages compared to the sector average even though our cost of living is rising
- Safety Poor safety measures which resulted in many incidents and a lack of training around the hazards.
- Pension and Benefits Only through collective agreement you can make improvements to the pension and benefits plan
- Precarious working conditions like pay cuts & increased workloads with less staff
- No Job security No protection and legal support in the event of a workplace issue that could result in discipline or dismissal, such as harassment or any other complaint.
- Lack of communication and important decisions being made without consulting staff
- Lack of training for staff resulting in management not being equipped to resolve conflict
- Lack of Transparency & favoritism, being kept in the dark about the requirements of your work and no transparency with work distribution and disputes.
- Micromanagement not having a neutral third party to mediate disputes
Stay tuned. Over the next week leading up to the vote, we will revisit many of these issues.
Even if you haven't signed a membership card you can still vote Yes for Unifor! Voting Yes is the best step you and your co-workers can make to building a better life for yourself, your family and your community. You can still sign your Union card and stay up to date with all the union information.
You can expect the employer to try to talk you out of voting to join Unifor. Joining a Union is your right and protected by law! Your employer cannot make threats or mislead you. We’ll have more to say about this and other issues in the days to come - including details of the vote once the Labour Board issues its order.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact one of your organizers: