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Food workers celebrate Ontario Labour Board decision in favour of union rights

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TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) is celebrating a decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to dismiss a London, Ontario employer's attempt to pit the Charter against the province's Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

The case before the board, UFCW v. The Original Cakerie Ltd., resulted when the employer launched a Charter challenge after finding out its employees had contacted the UFCW to request help in joining the food workers' union.

The employer attempted to argue that the province's labour legislation violated employee privacy, but the employer failed to provide a single witness who could testify about so-called privacy concerns.

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act requires employers to provide the union with a complete list of employees, and their contact information, once the union demonstrates that at least 20 percent of a company's workforce supports the effort to join the union.

In responding to the employer's attempted argument, OLRB Chair Bernard Fishbein concluded the Act "does not violate the Charter, and in any event, the Employer had no standing to make such an argument on behalf of its employees," and ordered the company to provide the list.

"Prior to the Act, irresponsible employers would often manipulate employee lists, and do other things to actively discourage their employees from exercising their right to join the union. All workers must have a fundamental and undeniable right to stick together," says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. "In Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must protect that fundamental right, and this decision reinforces that right by making it easier for workers to take the empowering step of forming a union."

"We know that workers in a union have a better standard of living and a voice on the job, and in Ontario, and every jurisdiction across Canada, we must continue to make it easier for workers to exercise their constitutional right to join a union," adds the national president.

The union would also like to thank the Ontario Federation of Labour for supporting the UFCW effort, and for helping to make a stand for workplace democracy, by participating as an intervenor in this important case for labour rights in Ontario. 

A full copy of the decision is available here: (http://www.ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32008:food-workers-celebrate-ontario-labour-board-decision-in-favour-of-union-rights&catid=9976&Itemid=6&lang=en).

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is one of Canada's largest trade unions, representing more than 250,000 people across the country, and 1.3 million internationally, who work in every aspect of the food chain, health care, security, and many other key economic sectors. To find out more about UFCW and its ground-breaking work, visit www.ufcw.ca.

CONTACT INFORMATION: 
Debora De Angelis
Regional Director, Ontario
UFCW Canada
416-675-1104
extension 2251
debora.deangelis@ufcw.ca
www.ufcw.ca 

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