Washington Post Supports Union Access During Organizing Campaigns

Source: David Doorey, Professor of Employment & Labour Law at York University in Toronto, Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog, May 12th, 2009

I have noted before what I see as the hypocrisy of those who advocate for mandatory certification ballots as the only ‘fair’ way to test employee wishes about whether they wish to move from the individual employment contract model to the collective bargaining model. They argue that the alternative model, of certifying unions when a majority of employees have signed a document claiming the wish the union to represent them, is ‘unfair’ because it does not ensure that the employees hear the ‘other side’ of the argument from the employer, and therefore may be mislead by the union and its supporters.

The hypocrisy lies in the fact that these supporters of a ‘fair election’ process usually also go ballistic whenever anyone suggests that the union’s organizers should be entitled to speak to the workers at the workplace. The sort of ‘fair’ election they want is one in which employers have unfettered access to the workers all day long to explain why unions are bad, and the simultaneous property right to prevent unions from even entering upon company property to explain the union’s side of the argument.

If we want an open and frank discussion about the pros and cons of collective bargaining-which seems like good policy to me-why doesn’t the state simply encourage that by ensuring that unions have equal access to the workers in non-working areas of the workplace (like lunchrooms, etc). That’s what the British laws require, where the state aims to ensure ‘equality of access’ to workers in the period preceding a unionization ballot.

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