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What happens when workers no longer want to be in a union?

For many individuals in British Columbia, unions play an important role in governing their labour relations. Unions represent workers in various occupations, in labour matters and among other things, negotiate collective agreements for the workers. Trucking companies operating out to Vancouver's port are examples of businesses that employ individuals who are part of a union. Recently two of those trucking companies were in the news regarding their employees' relationship with the union, Unifor.

This past Fall, the union negotiated collective agreements which the drivers ratified. Now, several months later, drivers with Aheer Transportation and Sunlover, recently cast their votes on the topic of leaving the union. Last month, Aheer Transportation voted in favour of decertification. Earlier this month, Sunlover drivers also cast their votes. Challenges to the vote by both sides have slowed the count of those votes.

Applications for decertification are filed with the Labour Relations Board. This action, which according to a representative from the LRB, does not occur very often, is initiated by employees. The owner of Aheer Transportation indicated he believes the decertification by employees was prompted by drivers not being happy with the representation the union provided the drivers.

While decertification is supposed to be initiated by employees, a service representative of Unifor-Local VCTA stated that 90 per cent of the time it is actually employers pushing for the change. He also indicated that is difficult to prove. The service representative said prior to the votes, he was not aware of any complaints regarding Unifor's representation.

Matters relating to labour relations and employment can be complicated. Lawyers may be of assistance to both employers as well as employees in a wide variety of these matters.

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