One of the Alberta government’s proposed changes to the Labour Relations Code is to take away the right to a secret ballot when workers vote on whether to form a union.
Eliminating secret ballot voting to determine whether a union should be formed goes against a cornerstone of democracy.
A secret ballot allows us to express our true beliefs without fear of reprisal.
Without anonymity of secret ballots, union organizers can pressure workers into signing up for unions. Even without outside pressure, some workers may be uncomfortable revealing opinion for or against in the absence of a secret ballot.
The organization of a union is not a trivial matter. The process should be treated seriously, just like when we elect a new government.
Research shows that eliminating secret ballots in favour of ‘card-check certification’ makes it easier to form a union. Unions can be valuable advocates for their members, so long as their formation accurately reflects the true desire of the majority of workers.
Card check would tilt the balance in favour of big unions and the people who run them, and away from workers.
Restrictive labour laws add cost and uncertainty at a time when it’s already very difficult to attract investment to Alberta.