Legal Problems with UPS’s “Company Chosen” Union

Some of the legal problems UPS is going to have with their “company chosen” union, the “Specialty and Temporary Employees Union (STEU),” are not problems that are being created by UFCW Local 401; they are problems that have been created because UPS has violated so many rules in their rush to push through their union of choice.  We are going to list the top 5 blatant mistakes that UPS has made in their attempt to bring in their own union, instead of negotiating a fair Union Contract with the union elected by their workers. Attached to the bottom of this message you will find the sections and clauses from the Alberta Labour Relations Code that we reference in this article. 

UPS has taken up a new strategy to fight their unionization by UFCW Local 401. Over the last week they have had their management team handing out union membership cards for another union. “Now I can only assume that they haven’t spoken to any legal counsel about this,” says UFCW Local 401 Director of Organizing Chris O’Halloran. “Any lawyer would have told their client that workers cannot choose to change unions until they are in an Open Period”. In labour relations the “Open Period” occurs after 10 months from the date of certification. Untied First Nations Alberta Corp., a contractor to UPS, was certified by the Alberta Labour Relation Board (ALRB) on February 24, 2012. February to May are not beyond 10 months following certification as outlined in Section 37(2)(b) of the Alberta Labour Relations Code. This is the first legal problem that UPS is going to have with trying to bring in their company chosen union. 

The second major legal problem that UPS is going to have is the ALRB has no record of this union. What this means is that they do not have legal standing in the Province of Alberta. “On Tuesday May 15, I received a fax with a copy of a union membership card, from a UPS security Guard with a statement about how she was threatened into signing this “company chosen” union membership card,” says Chris O’Halloran. “I immediately phoned the ALRB and asked if 

they had any record of the “Specialty and Temporary Employees Union,” and I was told that the ALRB has no record of the STEU as a registered trade union in the Province of Alberta.” Sections 37(1)(a) and 24(1)(a)of the Alberta Labour Relations Code clearly state that no union shall make an application for union certification for a group of workers until sixty days following their application for legal standing in the Province of Alberta. As UPS employees cannot join a union that has no legal standing in the Province of Alberta, it appears that UPS is simply trying to confuse and divide its workers.

The next two major legal problems UPS has to overcome stem from the fact that it is the employer who is driving this unionization campaign. It is the employer’s management team that is visiting each worksite and signing the workers to their chosen union’s membership cards. What’s more, they are performing these unionization efforts on work time. In addition, the Alberta Labour Relations Code clearly states in Sections 148(1)(a) and (b) that an employer cannot participate in or interfere with the formation of a trade union and that an employer cannot contribute financial or other support to a trade union.  As well, Sections 38(1)(a) and (b), state that the ALRB shall not certify any union if that union is seen to be “dominated by an employer”. “So how do we decide what dominated by an employer means?” asks Chris O’Halloran. “If you look at the way UPS has openly conducted every aspect of the organizing drive, the fact that no UPS security guard has seen a representative of STEU, I believe it is easy to see that this is a company dominated union organizing effort.”  On top of that, in Section 151(d), the Code states that the ALRB cannot accept evidence (union membership cards) that are obtained while workers are working. This mean you cannot sign a union membership card during a company meeting or on work time.  

Ok, those are 4 legal problems that UPS is going to have when trying to certify their “company chosen” union. So let us finish up with one last legal problem UPS is going to have. They have gotten security guards to sign union membership cards. Under Sections 33(a)(ii) a union must collect $2.00 from every workers who signs a union membership card and have proof of that collection. They have not done this. UPS really should have left the unionization of their company to a Union that knows what it is doing. When UFCW Local 401 unionized the UPS security guards we had them sign the ALRB’s Union Petition. You are not required to pay $2.00 to sign a Union Petition. So when your employer comes around again and starts asking you for $2.00 dollars or to sign a Union Petition for their “company chosen” union; remember that you have the choice not to join their union.

 
UFCW Local 401 is here to support its members through this time. We know that the majority of you just want to negotiate a fair Union Contract guaranteeing you wages, benefits and good quality working conditions. Unfortunately UPS has decided not to afford you that legal right without a fight. Keep watching your email, our website www.thesecurityguardunion.ca and your Facebook page www.facebook.com/877gounion for more information as this situation develops; and if you have any question please do not hesitate to call. 
 
In solidarity, 
 
Chris O’Halloran
Director of Organizing
UFCW Local 401
403-797-2878
cohalloran@ufcw401.ab.ca
102 - 2635 37Ave NE
Calgary, AB
T1Y 5Z6
 
 
Alberta Labour Relations Code
 
Filing of constitution, etc., of trade union  
24(1)  In accordance with the rules and procedures established by the Board, a trade union shall file with the Board 
 
(a) a copy of its constitution, bylaws or other constitutional documents, and 
 
(b) the names and addresses of its president, secretary, officers and other organizers and the names of its officers who are authorized to sign collective agreements.
 
Evidence in support of application for certification  
33 An application for certification shall be supported by evidence, in a form satisfactory to the Board, that
 
(a) at least 40% of the employees in the unit applied for, by 
 
(i) maintaining membership in good standing in the trade union, or 
 
(ii) applying for membership in the trade union and paying on their own behalf a sum of not less than $2 not longer than 90 days before the date the application for certification was made, or both, have indicated their support for the trade union, or 
 
(b) at least 40% of the employees in the unit applied for have, not longer than 90 days before the date the application for certification was made, indicated in writing their selection of the trade union to be the bargaining agent on their behalf.
 
Timeliness of application for certification  
37(1)  No application for certification shall be made without the Board’s consent 
 
(a) until at least 60 days after the applicant has complied with section 24(1)(a), or 
 
(b) while a lawful strike or lawful lockout is in effect. 
 
(2)  An application for certification may be made, 
 
(a) if no collective agreement or certification of a bargaining agent is in effect in respect of any employees in the unit, at any time, 
 
(b) if a bargaining agent has been certified in respect of any of the employees in the unit, at any time after the expiration of 10 months from the date of the certification of the bargaining agent, unless a collective agreement has been entered into by the bargaining agent, 
 
(c) if the certification of a bargaining agent in respect of any of the employees in the unit is questioned or reviewed by the Court, at any time after the expiration of 10 months from the date of the final disposition of the question or review, unless the Court quashes the decision of the Board to certify the bargaining agent,   
 
(d) if a collective agreement for a term of 2 years or less is in force in respect of any of the employees in the unit, at any time in the 2 months immediately preceding the end of the term of the collective agreement, or 
 
(e) if a collective agreement for a term of more than 2 years is in force in respect of any of the employees in the unit, at any time 
(i) in the 11th or 12th month of the 2nd or any subsequent year of the term, or 
(ii) in the 2 months immediately preceding the end of the term.
 
Prohibitions on certification  
38(1)  A trade union shall not be certified as a bargaining agent if its administration, management or policy is, in the opinion of the Board, 
 
(a) dominated by an employer, or 
 
(b) influenced by an employer so that the trade union’s fitness to represent employees for the purposes of collective bargaining is impaired. 
 
(2)  A trade union shall not be certified as a bargaining agent if, in the opinion of the Board, picketing of the place of employment of the employees affected, or elsewhere, directly resulted in 
 
(a) employees becoming members of the trade union, 
 
(b) employees applying for membership in the trade union, or 
 
(c) employees indicating in writing their selection of the trade union to be the bargaining agent on their behalf.
 
Prohibited practices by employer, etc.
148(1) No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall
 
(a) participate in or interfere with
 
(i) the formation or administration of a trade union, or
 
(ii) the representation of employees by a trade union,
or
 
(b) contribute financial or other support to a trade union.
 
Prohibited practices by trade union, etc.
151 No trade union and no person acting on behalf of a trade union shall
 
(d) except with the consent of the employer of an employee, attempt, at an employee’s place of employment during the working hours of the employee, to persuade the employee to become, to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member of a trade union;
 
 
For more information you can find a copy of the Alberta Labour Relations Code at: