How do we get a union in your workplace?

1. Set-up a union organizing committee

Canadian Union of Public Employees’ organizing team will work with the Union representing each municipality to form an inside organizing committee. If this is something you would be interested in learning more about, please contact us at (email here)

2. Start card-signing campaign in your workplace

The card signing campaign is part of the legal steps to get a union started. Signing cards (paper and e-cards) is the only way we can signal to the British Columbia Labour Relations Board that we are serious about unionizing.

3. Sign-up over 60 percent of the workers

The Labour Board requires that workers in the workplace sign union cards showing their support for the union in order to be certified. All cards are confidential, and the employer never finds out who signed a card. Our goal for any campaign is to have at least 60 percent of cards signed for each workplace before we file the application with the Labour Relations Board.

4. File application with the Labour Board

Once we have enough cards signed, CUPE will file the application at the Labour Board for certification of the union. The Labour Board will examine the signed cards to make sure that they are valid and determine how many employees were represented.

If 55 percent or more of the employees in the workplace have signed cards, the union will be automatically certified by the Labour Board and no further vote is required. If between 45 and 55 percent of employees sign cards, the Labour Board will order a date within five business days for a vote.

5. The vote

The Labour Board will hold a vote for workers. Everyone who would be covered by the union is able to vote (currently all votes are electronic).

If 50 per cent plus one vote “yes,” we will be certified into the existing local union.

6. Bargaining

CUPE will support you by working with the local union and helping you file to start negotiations with the employer to get your first agreement.

CUPE will launch a bargaining survey to receive feedback from the new members about priorities.

CUPE assigns the local a Staff Representative (a CUPE employee) to help negotiate the first agreement. CUPE also has dedicated research, communications, legal, education, and human rights staff to support our bargaining.

7. Ratification

The local will hold a vote on the proposed collective agreement that was negotiated between the union and employer.

The City Council will also vote to ratify the collective agreement.

8. Enforcement of the Collective Agreement

The union will support the enforcement of the collective agreement using the mechanisms (such as grievance filing) outlined in the collective agreement contract. This will ensure fairness and accountability as the employer follows the agreed terms of the collective agreement.