Labour Relations Board Breach Poses Serious Damage to Workers’ Rights –
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) Demands Government Intervention
St. John’s, NL – The Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) is shocked and deeply concerned following the recent information released by the Atlantic Canada Regional Council of Carpenters Millwrights and Allied Workers (ACRC) of a serious breach of workers’ privacy. “This atrocious breach of privacy,” says President Mary Shortall, “undermines the fundamental right of workers to sign a union card and join a union of their choice. The Labour Relations Board (LRB) and the Legislation are meant to facilitate a process – not impede it. Violations which damage the integrity and which so egregiously impede workers’ rights need to be addressed and remedied without delay.”
Shortall says sending an employer any information which discloses who signed union cards not only puts workers in a precarious situation in their workplace, but it has serious implications for any future organizing for all unions. “There is absolutely no excuse for this error,” says Shortall. “This legislation has been in force for a long time. This unacceptable violation of The Labour Relations Act (LRA) can paralyze a union’s ability to organize workers who have the legal right to join a union. It is not okay to violate this important process.”
NLFL Calls for Automatic Certification
The NLFL is asking Labour Minister Byrne to quickly intervene in this situation and immediately put measures in place to ensure this can never happen again, and adds that workers in this province must be guaranteed that their legal rights remain intact, and any cards or vote results are kept confidential. Shortall suggests that in this case, the LRB should grant an automatic certification to the workers, as there is no way a vote can be trusted after this atrocity.
The NLFL has been asking for a review of all existing labour laws, including the LRA for some time now. Card check, the ability for automatic certification without an additional secret ballot vote, was repealed in 2014. As Shortall stated, “In light of this most recent news, and similar unacceptable practices that have been reported to the Federation, as well as former issues surrounding prolonged labour disputes with no enforcement mechanisms for employers who violate the Act, the only way to restore workers’ faith and restore integrity in the process is by completely overhauling the legislation.”
President, Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour