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NEWS RELEASE: Business Community Calls on Government to Protect Workers’ Right to a Secret Ballot

MEDIA COVERAGE OF THIS ISSUE: Globe and Mail, Global BC, Simi Sara Show (CKNW)

BURNABY – In a joint submission to the BC Labour Relations Code Review Panel, 13 significant business associations – including the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) – have called on the BC Government to protect workers’ rights to a secret ballot in union certification votes.

“The right to a secret ballot is a fundamental part of our democracy,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “The current system, which uses a secret ballot, ensures that neither employers nor unions can coerce workers one way or the other. Certification votes are fair and transparent and they are supervised by a neutral party, the Labour Relations Board.”

The joint submission points out that the current Labour Relations Code is the result of uniquely consultative processes in 1992/93 and enhanced in 2002. The Code is working well, evidenced by British Columbia’s long period of labour relations stability, with very few work stoppages.

“If they make radical changes to the labour code, the NDP government will hurt business confidence and put at risk jobs and opportunities for British Columbians,” said Gardner. “The current labour code is serving BC well and has provided certainty for both workers who are increasingly demanding more choice and flexibility in the workplace and employers seeking to invest in BC and grow their businesses.”

Beside protecting the secret ballot in union certification votes, the submission also calls on the panel reviewing the labour code to:

  • Ensure appointments to the Labour Relations Board reflect balance between union and employer representatives
  • Protect the court-tested definition of “essential services”
  • Protect the personal and private information of employees
  • Prevent legislated sectoral bargaining
  • End governments dictating employee choice on large construction projects through project labour agreements

The business community is increasingly concerned that the signal being sent by the NDP government is that BC is not open for business.

“Along with the array of new taxes recently introduced by the NDP Government – everything from the new payroll tax, to increases in personal income tax, to new gas taxes – radical changes in the labour code will have a chilling effect on investment, job creation and new opportunities in BC,” said Gardner.

The joint submission was filed yesterday, and was signed by ICBA as well as the BC Chamber of Commerce, BC Hotels Association, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Franchise Association, Canadian Home Builders Association, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, New Car Dealers Association of BC, Restaurants Canada, Retail Council of Canada, Tourism Industry Association of BC, and Urban Development Institute. Read the full submission HERE.

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