Frequently Asked Questions About Joining Our Union 

Do you lose anything when you join the union?


Once a union applies for a certification vote, Section 45(1) (b) of the BC Labour Relations Code requires that all terms and conditions of employment are protected and cannot be changed for 12 months after certification without the union’s consent. That means that if the union gets a Yes vote, then bargaining would start from your current conditions and move up from there.

Who organizes the union?

The employees form their own union

Usually a committee is formed within the workplace who inform and sign up their co-workers. The committee receives direction and assistance from a USW organizer.

What are the legal requirements to certification?

The law requires that at least 45% of the affected employees must sign a union membership card. The union then applies to the BC Labour Relations Board for a certification vote. The BC Labour Relations Code would then conduct a secret ballot vote within 5 business days of the application. The vote is conducted right in the workplace. At the end of the voting time, the Officer from the BC Labour Relations Board in charge of the vote counts the ballots with representatives from the union and management present. The final outcome is determined by a simple majority of the ballots cast.

Can my employer take any action against me for joining a union?


The decision to join is solely up to the individual without any undue influence, threats or coercion from management. Every person is free to join a union of their own choice as per Section 5 of the BC Labour Relations Code

Can I help my co-workers in joining the union?


Organizing a union and participating in one are legal activities and rights, and those rights are protected under the BC Labour Relations Code.

Does the employer ever find out who supported the union?


The BC Labour Relations Code guarantees the secrecy of all membership evidence. Employers never find out and never get to see the membership cards.

What happens if an employer violates workers’ rights during an organizing drive?

Notify the union, immediately.

The union can file an “Unfair Labour Practice Complaint”, with the BC Labour Relations Board, who in turn has the authority to order any remedy that it feels is appropriate and that addresses any violation of the BC Labour Relations Code.

How will we benefit from joining USW Local 2009?

Workers join unions for access to fairness and justice. Contract bargaining ensures that all workers have a say in wages, benefits and working conditions on a regular basis. Furthermore, a contract gives unionized workers a legal right to grieve improper pay rates, health & safety issues, application of negotiated benefits, unjust treatment or discipline, etc. This process ensures that problems, issues and concerns will not be side stepped, but rather be mandated to be dealt with in very specific time limits. At work, unionized workers have the benefit of representation from elected and trained workplace Stewards who receive direction and assistance from the USW Local 2009 Servicing Representative assigned to your workplace. Unionized USW workers also have access to the full resources of the union and the various departments that assist workers.

What is the function of the union in our workplace?

The employees ARE the union in the workplace. Union stewards and other positions are elected to represent their co-workers and to ensure that the company does not violate the contract. A USW Local 2009 Servicing Representative provides assistance, direction, research and education to Stewards and other employees in the workplace. The USW Local 2009 servicing representative also assists in the settlement of grievances.

What is a collective agreement?

A collective agreement or a contract is a legal agreement between a union and an employer, covering wages, hours of work, working conditions, benefits, rights of workers and the union, and a procedure to be followed in settling workplace disputes.

Who negotiates the contract?

After a successful organizing campaign, the affected employees meet to put forward proposals for the contract and to elect from amongst themselves their own bargaining committee. The committee, along with a USW Local 2009 Servicing Representative, would then proceed to meet with the employer to obtain a satisfactory agreement as mandated by their fellow co-workers. USW Local 2009 Servicing Representative direct and lend expertise at all stages of negotiations with full input from the elected bargaining committee at all levels.

Join Our Union

If you, or anyone you know wants to make real change and improvements at work, join us.

Learn More