Join Unifor

Congratulations on taking the first step toward improving your life at work.

Every year, thousands of working people in this country just like you join unions. They join for different reasons, some because they want respect & dignity on the job, some want better wages and benefits, for others it’s job security, or more control over the work that they do

Do you think you deserve better pay and more benefits for the work you do?, Do you think your boss should treat you fairly and with respect? Do you think you should have more say at work? We do.

The leadership at Unifor  is committed to protecting and extending workers’ rights in the workplace and in the community. Thousands of working people in Niagara already know the advantages of being a union member first-hand. Since our birth in 1937 Local 199 has helped workers make positive changes in their workplaces and we would love the opportunity to do the same for you.

Initially we just want to provide you with some basic information to help you decide if you want a union. Before you move on to the links below it is important that you know that if you contact us about joining our union it is a confidential process; we will not contact you unless you request us to do so and we will not contact you at work.

Are you ready to Join Unifor?

 Making the decision to join Unifor can leave a positive and lasting impact on the lives of workers and their families. Unifor represents workers in nearly every sector of the economy, has a wide-range of experience negotiating strong contracts and settling grievances even in some of the most challenging circumstances.  As a Unifor member, you will have one of the strongest and most innovative Canadian union in your corner, helping you win fair wages and an improved standard of living.

The first question you need to ask yourself are you ready and willing  to make a difference in your workplace? If the answer is yes the next step is to contact the National Union Organizing department  at Unifor for more information. Once again we remind you this is a confidential process.   Lets talk…..

Why Join Unifor?

  1. Unifor will help you and your co-workers to gain more control over your workplace, which is guaranteed in contracts you negotiate with your employer.
  2. Unifor has experience, representing working people like you in nearly every industry sector and in every job imaginable.
  3. Unifor Education Programs gives union members the tools they need to build a better union and to develop skills to deal with management.
  4. Unifor has professional staff who work with local unions to negotiate contracts and assist members in dealing with employers.
  5. Unifor has negotiated agreements which have improved the lives for thousands of workers across Canada.
  6. Unifor has a large Defence fund ensures that members of Unifor have the resources to defend their rights. (Over 97 percent of Unifor contracts are settled without a work stoppage.)
  7. Unifor has a proven track record improving Health & Safety in the workplace which incidentally not only benefits our members but every worker in Canada.
  8. Unifor negotiates Fairness and dignity in the workplace, that is enforceable by a negotiated legal contract. Respect is no longer dependent on the whim of the management. With a Unifor union contract, there are no barriers created by favouritism or arbitrary actions of employers.
  9. Unifor members are all part of the democratic process that  is carefully protected. Union members vote for their leadership, at all levels, vote for contract proposals and vote to ratify agreements. Every member can run for office and fully participate in the local and national union.
  10. The number one reason for joining Unifor is your family. In Canada, unions are responsible for many of the things we now take for granted- paid vacations, benefits, pensions and more. Unifor is a union that builds on the past, protecting what we have won and helping to create a better future for our members and their families.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. Who organizes a Union? A. The employees, usually a committee is formed within the workplace who inform and sign up their co-workers. The committee receives direction and assistance from a Unifor organizer.

Q. Can I help my co-workers in joining the Union? A. Yes. Organizing a Union and participating in one are legal activities and rights, and those rights are protected under the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

Q. What are the legal requirements to certification? A. The law requires that at least 40% of the affected employees must sign a Union membership card. The Union then applies to the Labour Board for a certification vote. The Labour Board would then conduct a secret ballot vote within 5 days from the application. The vote is conducted right in the workplace. At the end of the voting time, the Officer from the Labour Board in charge of the vote, counts the ballots with representatives from the Union and management present. The final outcome is determined by a simple majority of the ballots cast.

Q. Can management staff belong to the Union? A. No! The Labour Relations Act (LRA) prohibits people that exercise managerial functions from belonging or interfering with the formation of the Union.

Q. Do you lose anything when you join the Union? A. No. Once a Union applies for a certification vote, the Labour Board requires that all terms and conditions of employment are “frozen” and cannot be changed without the Unions consent. Section 86 of the LRA. That means that if the Union gets a Yes vote, then bargaining would start from your current conditions and move up from there.

Q. Does the employer ever find out who supported the Union? A. No. The LRA guarantees the secrecy of all membership evidence. Employers never find out and never get to see the membership cards. Section 119 of the LRA.

Q. Can my employer take any action against me for joining a Union? A. No. The decision to join is solely up to the individual without any undue influence, threats or coercion from management. Every person is free to join a Union of their own choice. Section 5 of the LRA.

Q. What happens if an employer violates workers’ rights during an organizing drive? A. Notify the Union, immediately. The Union can file an “Unfair Labour Practice Complaint”, with the Labour Board, who in turn has the authority to order any remedy that they feel is appropriate and that addresses any violation of the LRA. Sections 70, 72 & 96 of the LRA.

Q. What is the function of the Union in our workplace? A. The employees ARE the Union in the workplace. Union Stewards and other positions are elected to represent their co-workers with management and to ensure that the company does not violate the contract. As usual, a National representative provides assistance, direction, research and education to Stewards and other employees in the workplace. The CAW National Representative also assists in the settlement of grievances.

Q. What is a collective agreement/contract? A. A collective agreement or a contract is a legal agreement between a Union and an employer, covering wages, hours of work, working conditions, benefits, rights of workers and the Union, and a procedure to be followed in settling workplace disputes.

Q. Who negotiates the contract? A. After a successful organizing campaign, the affected employees meet to put forward proposals for the contract and to elect from amongst themselves their own bargaining committee. The committee along with a CAW National Representative would then proceed to meet with the employer to obtain a satisfactory agreement as mandated by their fellow co-workers. Un ifor Representative directs and lends expertise at all stages of negotiations with full input from the elected bargaining committee at all levels.

Q. What are Union Constitutions & By-Laws? A. They are the rules and regulations that govern the Union, elected and appointed officers, revenue of the Union and the welfare of the membership. The Constitution and By-Law’s were created by the membership and can only be amended by the members of the Union by a 2/3 majority vote.

Q. How will we benefit from joining Unifor? A. Documented statistics clearly show that year after year, unionized workers do far better than their nonUnion counterparts in wages, benefits and working conditions. Contract bargaining ensures that all workers have a say in wages, benefits and working conditions on a regular basis.

Furthermore, a contract gives unionized workers a legal right to grieve improper pay rates, health & safety issues, application of negotiated benefits, unjust treatment or discipline, etc. This process ensures that problems, issues and concerns will not be side stepped, but rather be mandated to be dealt with in very specific time limits.

At work, unionized workers have the benefit of representation from elected and trained in plant Stewards who receive direction and assistance from Unifor National Representative assigned to your workplace.

Unionized workers also have access to the full resources of the Union and the various departments that assist workers. They include the Legal, Research, Health & Safety, Education, Human Rights, Pension & Benefits and many other departments. They provide the specific expertise and knowledge when required to do so and is a service available to all Unifor members.

Without a Union and a collective agreement, you give management the sole discretion in determining what is fair and just, concerning all of your conditions of employment and without any means to challenge any decision that management makes.



The is no shortage of Myths about Unions here is a sample of them. Myths about Unions

Here is an interesting article Top Ten Reasons to Join a Union

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