The Effect of Compulsory Certification Votes on Certification Applications in Ontario: An Empirical Analysis
(2003) 10 Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal 367-397
39 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2006 Last revised: 31 Mar 2010
Labour legislation was amended to require that a union applying to certify a group of employees must obtain at least 50% of the ballots in a mandatory representation vote. These amendments eliminated the card-based certification system that had prevailed until this time, under which a representation vote was required only in cases where the union failed to show membership evidence from 55% of employees in the proposed unit. In this paper, the author presents the results of a statistical analysis which she conducted with respect to the impact of mandatory vote on the certification process, with particular emphasis on the characteristics of bargaining units. Using data obtained from the Labour Relations Board and the province's Ministry of Labour, the study examines certification applications between 1993 and 1998. The author concludes that the overall proportion of successful certification applications is substantially lower under the mandatory vote than it had been under the card-check system. Furthermore, the results show a significant difference in the characteristics of bargaining units, indicating a shift towards larger bargaining units concentrated to a greater degree in the manufacturing sector, and a concurrent decline in certification activity in the service sector and among part-time employees. This, in the author's view, suggests that the mandatory vote has had a disparately negative impact on more vulnerable employees.
Keywords: labor law, labour law, trade union, union, industrial relations, certification, card-check, representation vote, representation election, efca, employee free choice act
JEL Classification: N30, K31, K21, J50, J51, J52, J53, J58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation