Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Trade Union?
Answer: A Trade Union is an organization of workers, united to have a collective voice, to win improvements and have protection at the workplace and to engage in collective bargaining and other matters pertaining to Employer-Employee relations.
How Does The Union Certification Process Work?
Answer: Trade Union status for certification under the Saskatchewan Trade Union Act is accomplished after a Trade Union demonstrates that it meets the requirements as set out in the legislation. The Trade Union who is applying for certification must satisfy the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board that it represents a majority of employees formed for the purpose of collective bargaining which includes the regulation of relations between the Employer and the employees. This majority support for the Trade Union is determined by secret ballot vote conducted by an agent appointed by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.
What Can A Union Do For Me?
Answer: A Trade Union is an organization of workers that addresses issues important to workers as employees. When you join a Union, you will be able to prioritize key issues that you, as employees, want to address and have a combined voice in the resolution of those issues.
How Do I Organize My Workplace?
Answer: Organizing your workplace is a relatively simple process. Individual employees must sign RWDSU union cards indicating that they would like to be represented by RWDSU. Once RWDSU is satisfied that it has 45% or more or a simple majority of employee support (51%) and providing such support was obtained within 90 days preceding the date of the application then RWDSU will apply to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board for Union Certification. Following a Hearing by the LRB, the LRB will order that a secret ballot vote be taken by all employees eligible to vote to determine the outcome.
A quorum for voting purposes and to determine a majority shall be based on the total number of employees eligible to vote and of those employees eligible to vote and actually vote, the majority of those voting shall determine that RWDSU does represent a majority of the employees for the purpose of issuing a Certification Order for the purpose of bargaining collectively.
Who Will Know If I Sign An RWDSU Union Card?
Answer: No one! The union card and related information is confidential and is only revealed to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board and its Officers. The Labour Relations Board is forbidden by law to reveal the names of those individuals who sign union cards. The Trade Union movement would be fast out of business if they revealed the names of individuals who sign union cards.
How And Where Do I Sign An RWDSU Union Card?
Answer: If after discussion with a Union Staff/Organizer person as listed on this website you want to proceed to signing a Union card then arrangements will be made with you and/or your co-workers to complete this stage in the process to unionize your workplace.
Can I Get Fired For Joining A Union Or Participating In Union Activity?
Answer: It is illegal for an Employer to fire and/or discriminate against any worker who visibly supports the Union and/or is actively campaigning for support for the union. The most effective way to protect yourself from being fired is by being vocal and making your support for the Union as visible as possible. If you hide your support, no one can vouch for it at a Labour Relations Board Hearing. Please note that without Union certification, employees have no protection from management and can be fired arbitrarily and at will and without any reason.
How Much Are Union Dues?
Answer: Union dues are the way that Unions pool their resources in order to fight for improvements to working conditions, benefits and pay and are set using the average hourly wage rate being paid in the workplace. RWDSU Union Dues, Initiation Fees and Assessments are set out in our Constitution and are as follows: Initiation Fees are $4.00 (onetime payment); Full-time employees pay 1.45% of gross earnings; Part-time employees pay 2% of gross earnings up to a designated weekly maximum which is designed to make sure a part-time employee cannot pay any more dues than a full-time employee based on hours worked; RWDSU Strike Fund assessment is paid on the basis of $1.00 per week; Organizing and Legal Fund is paid based on .06 cents for every hour worked and/or paid; The Convention/Strike Fund supplement shall be split 50/50 based on .24 cents per member per week.
So what does this mean?
A full-time employee earning $15.00 per hour (based on 40 hours per week)
$2,600.00 per month x 1.45% of gross earnings = $37.70 per month Union dues; Initiation Fee = $4.00 (onetime payment); Strike Fund payment = $4.33 per month; Organizing and Legal Fund = $3.46 per month; Convention / Strike Fund Supplement = $1.04 per month.
Total monthly Union Dues and Assessments = $50.53 for the first month and $46.53 every month thereafter until such time as negotiated wage increases are applied then the Union Dues based on the 1.45% will increase proportionately based on an increase to the employees gross earnings.
A part-time employee earning $15.00 per hour (based on 40 hours per week but is only working 20 hours per week)
$1,299.99 per month x 2% of gross earnings = $25.99 per month to a maximum weekly amount = $8.70 per week; Initiation Fee = $4.00 (onetime payment); Strike Fund payment = $4.33 per month; Organizing and Legal Fund = $3.46 per month; Convention/Strike Fund = $1.04 per month.
Total monthly Union Dues and Assessments = $38.82 for the first month and $34.82 every month thereafter until such time as negotiated wage increases are applied then the Union dues based on the 2% will increase proportionately based on an increased to the employees gross earnings.
Union Dues, Initiation Fees and Assessments are deducted from bi-weekly pay and all such money deducted and forwarded to the Union is also tax deductible.
Who Will Negotiate The Union collective Agreement?
Answer: The Employees select or elect their negotiating Committee and the Union assigns a full-time experienced Staff Representative to assist and chair the negotiations on behalf of the Union Committee.
Will Employees Have To Go On Strike To Achieve Their Goals?
Answer: The facts are that strikes are rare and 97% of all Union contracts are settled without resorting to strike action by workers. RWDSU has experienced staff negotiators who are skilled in reaching satisfactory Collective Agreements. However, if the Union Bargaining Committee fails to reach an agreement with the employer, there are a number of options available to them including a provincial conciliation officer and if that fails to reach an agreement then either party may make an application to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations board requesting assistance in reaching a first Collective Agreement. However if a strike action is the only option left then the decision to take strike action will be a decision made by the employees (alone) in the workplace.
Before any strike action can begin; a secret ballot vote must be conducted by the employees who attend the Union meeting. A notice of the meeting is posted in the workplace and clearly identifies the agenda issues to be discussed at the meeting. Once supported by a majority (51% or more) of the employees in attendance at the meeting and who have voted. Saskatchewan law requires that the Union give a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to the employer before any strike action is commenced.