Did a union put Lorne’s Electric of Arnprior, ON out of business? Lorne’s Electric was a 40-person shop, concentrating on residential construction. They ran a non-union shop and there had been attempts to unionize the company. The last attempt was made by the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
On Dec. 30 last year, Local 586 of IBEW sent notice it was seeking card-based, union certification of Lorne’s Electric. The notice was sent by way of a 70-page fax that arrived when no one was in the office. Only three people were working for the company on that day the application was filed. These three employees became, in effect, the entire workforce the union based their numbers on. It seems a vote by secret ballot for certification in Ontario only requires a vote 50%+1.
Six weeks later the owner of Lorne’s electric, Eric Glahs, sat at a meeting in the Ontario Labour Relations Board head-offices in Toronto, listening in amazement as a judge holding the cards in his hands, read the names of two of the men on that three-man crew. By a majority Lorne’s Electric was unionized that day. The other 30 or so persons not working on that day did not count; they were not included in to the vote.
Lorne’s Electric went out of business after 20 years in business, with around 40 people being unemployed. I believe it’s terrible that all these workers and families suffered financial hardship, caused in my opinion by bullying unions. Had this union left this company alone, I’m sure it would still be in business, offering competitive wages, benefits and a pension plan to its 40 so employees.
This situation of card-based certification legislation was brought in by Dalton McGuinty and many non union businesses have no idea of this threat to their livelihood. The present Ontario Liberal government continues its union ties, with for example the carpenters union, both supporting journeymen/women for carpentry in home renovations and the Liberals for introducing of the union based Ontario College of Trades (OCOT).
Do you think card based certification fair or not?
Let us know.
Read article at the Canadian Contractor magazine