NEWS RELEASE · 4th September 2012
BC Liberal Caucus
Over the long weekend, Adrian Dix once again refused to tell British Columbians his position on major changes to the labour code under consideration by the NDP.
Last week, NDP MLA Shane Simpson said eliminating the secret ballot provision for union certification is part of a package of changes the NDP are considering making to the labour code. “You know, that’s an open conversation, and I’m not going to deny that… we’re starting to talk about that piece.” (CKNW, Aug. 27, 2012)
When asked three separate times about the potential changes to the labour code, Adrian Dix seemed more interested in listening to music than telling voters his position. “I'm not announcing anything today. I'm going to enjoy listening to Chilliwack and having a good day.” (Adrian Dix, CKNW, Sept. 3, 2012)
“This is a serious question, yet Adrian Dix is refusing to tell British Columbians if he supports the changes to the labour code under consideration by the NDP,” said Moira Stilwell, MLA for Vancouver-Langara. “Adrian Dix needs to stand up and tell British Columbians where he stands on this issue and many others, like raising taxes and public sector contracts. British Columbians have a right to know what risky changes he has planned.”
In the 1990s, the NDP introduced Bill 84, replacing the secret ballot with a system of automatic certification if 55 per cent of employees in a workplace signed a membership card. When the legislation was introduced by Moe Sihota, now the president of the BC NDP, he said, "shortly after the provincial election of October 1991 and the subsequent swearing-in of cabinet, the first initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Labour was to contact unions, employers and the labour relations community to seek their views as to who should be on a panel to review labour relations legislation." (Hansard, Oct, 28, 1992)
“Instead of creating jobs when they were elected in 1991, their first initiative was to change the labour code to benefit their union allies. Considering these changes during this time of global economic turmoil threatens investment and jobs in B.C. A healthy and growing labour market and economy require a fair and democratic workplace. These changes put this at risk,” added Stilwell.
In 2002, the BC Liberal Government amended the Labour Relations Code to restore workers’ democratic right to a secret ballot vote on union certification, and to ensure the same rules apply for either certification or decertification.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 17th September 2012
I thought this was about the 55% requirement in the Labour Code not votes in the legislature?
Again to my point
Comment by Dave B on 5th September 2012
It was not about workers rights versus employer retribution (not only in employee/employer issues but in First Nation situations too).
My point was about our "overall governing bodies" both Provincially, Federally and also Municipalities and in Regional Districts -
People are elected to represent those that put their faith in them and their opinions and hopes.
God knows at times it is a heartless job balancing the best result of decisions made in the majority interest but in fairness to the constituency they represent their final decision should be publicly available.
The solution is to those governing bodies that follow "Party lines" get away from the "bosses" position is what keep you in caucus or in positions of merit.
We are elected to represent the will of the majority of our constituents opinion or position.
Any "party" that does not recognize and respect that is nothing more than a dictatorship!
Enough said before I get mad at the the only form of Government I see as viable unless we go to a true Tribal system as was prevelant before parliamentary systems came along.
On the 55% requirement.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 5th September 2012
The 55% required for automatic certification was partly to remove the opportunity for the employer to manipulate the outcome on the certification vote which was to follow. It happened. Once the employer knew who signed, people could be fired, the employment role could be stacked (sometimes by the employers family members), subsidiary companies could be formed to take over the jobs etc.. There were all kinds of actions to thwart the workers.
Whether the target for automatic certification should be 55% or 66% is a matter for debate. It is a bit disingenuous not to address the issue of how exposed and vulnerable a worker is after he/she has signed for a union.
If one believes that workers should not have a level playing field to make a free decision then you forget about the power of employers.
In my experience the notion that workers are cowered by a coworker trying to sign them up is plain silly. But, the practice of manipulation by employers is real and has happened even in Terrace.
Very true Merv
Comment by Dave B on 5th September 2012
There is a lot of borderline legislation that would not have been passed if it was a secret ballot - but on the other hand how would concerned constituents know how a MLA or MP stood on issues if it was a secret ballot?
They could say one thing and vote another way.
People need to seriously think about politics.
Comment by Janice Robinson on 5th September 2012
Especially First Nations people in Skeena-Bulkley Valley. Our votes carry a lot of weight in this area.
In the long run, has it ever mattered what party was in power? Provincially... or federally?
Lip service is cheap. Once elected, all representatives tow "the party line." Dig a little deeper into party philosophies, and you will see a convergence of goals and agendas. How to exploit resources, tax the hapless citizenry, and who/when/where, and how much tax revenues to dole back out. Oh......and make it through to that ample pension, of course!
Elections simply determine the passing of the baton, who will expel the most hot air for the next little while, and how our political pablum will be wrapped anew before serving.
Comment by Paul Johnston on 5th September 2012
I see the Libs are becoming increasingly desparate. In 2001, they completely tipped the balance in labour relations in favour of employers. What had been a very carefully balanced system shifted badly to one side. The old balance needs to be restored. The idea of "secret ballots" has only one purpose, to secure a delay so that employers can campaign against collective rights. BTW, do your readers know that in that campaigning there are no limits; untruths are A-OK and the only restriction is "deliberate lies". Ever try to prove a lie is deliberate ??
Isn't it a bit strange?
Comment by barryeng on 5th September 2012
The NDP haven't even been elected yet, and already the liberals are complaining about policy that the NDP might create. As far as I know, Dix hasn't said that he will fix bad labour laws but the complaining has started. Isn't this putting the cart before the horse . . .or is it just a sign of things to come?
Both the NDP and Liberals have a double standard on secrecy
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 4th September 2012
Until the elected representatives of every constituency (MLA's Members of the Legislative Assembly) each are allowed to vote in secret on every piece of legislation presented by the government or the opposition, British Columbians will continue to have a non-representative democratic system.
Every MLA now is nothing but a franchise operator. Each represent their party to the people and vote as they are directed by that party.
Their is nothing democratic about it.
Until the Liberals and the NDP demand a secret ballot for each of their members at every vote, they are playing a double standard on everyone.
It is a bit rich for the Liberals to demand a secret ballot for the Unions when they demand an open, public ballot for their MLA's.
Just like they claim with Unions, they punish their members for not voting as they are told.