Union 101: Glossary Of Terms

Most Common Union Terms

Bargaining agent:

a union certified by the Labour Relations Board as agent to bargain collectively for employees in a bargaining unit; also a person or employers' organization accredited by the Labour Relations Board and authorized by an employer to bargain on its behalf.

Bargaining unit:

an employee group recognized by the Labour Relations Board as the appropriate unit for collective bargaining.

Certification:

official recognition by the Labour Relations Board that a union is the exclusive bargaining representative for employees in a particular bargaining unit.

an agreement in writing between a union and an employer setting out the terms and conditions of employment, including rates of pay and hours of work.

Collective agreement:

 

Dues:

a regular payment of money made by members of unions, typically a small percentage of an employee's wages. Dues are the cost of membership; they are used to fund the back end of the union, and the various activities which the union engages in.

a disagreement over the interpretation or application of a provision in a collective agreement; an allegation by one party that the other has violated the terms of the agreement.

Grievance:

  

Labour Relations Board:

the agency established under the Labour Relations Code to administer and enforce the various provisions of the Code.

Labour Relations Code:

the basic statute regulating labour relations and collective bargaining in British Columbia.

  

Unfair labour practice:

any conduct that interferes with the rights guaranteed by the Code - e.g. interference with the right to participate in the lawful activities of a union.

Union:

an association of employees formed for the purpose of furthering their interests with respect to terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining.

Union Cards:

 a card certifying membership, or desire to have membership, in a labor union. 

Wage Theft:

 

Wage theft is the denial of wages or employee benefits that are rightfully owed to an employee. It can be conducted through various means such as: failure to pay overtime, minimum wage violations, employee misclassification, illegal deductions in pay, working off the clock, or not being paid at all.


Other Terms

Adjudication Division:

the division of the Labour Relations Board that investigates and resolves complaints and applications under the Code, either by settlement with the affected parties or by making a binding decision.

Ally:

a person who assists an employer in a lockout or in resisting a lawful strike.

Arbitration:

a method of settling a labour-management dispute by having an impartial third party conduct a hearing and render a decision that is binding on both the union and the employer.

Canada Labour Code :

the statute regulating labour relations and collective bargaining for employees under federal jurisdiction.

Cease and desist order:

an order by the Labour Relations Board directing a party to refrain from doing something.

  

Consent order:

an order by the Labour Relations Board incorporating an agreement between the parties.

Council of unions:

an association of unions that bargain together on behalf of a number of bargaining units which have been amalgamated into one larger bargaining unit.

Decertification: 

cancellation of a union's certification by the Labour Relations Board.

Dependent contractor:

a person who performs work or services for another person on terms and conditions that more closely resemble those of an employee than of an independent contractor.

Duty of fair representation:

the duty of a union or employers' organization to fairly represent its members.

  

Employer bargaining association:

a bargaining association composed of more than one employer (also called an employers' organization).

  

Good faith bargaining:

the requirement that the parties meet and confer at reasonable times with the sincere intention of reaching agreement on new contract terms.

Grievance arbitration:

settlement of a dispute over how a clause or article in a collective agreement should be interpreted and applied by having an impartial third party conduct a hearing and render a decision that is binding on both the union and the employer.

Industrial inquiry commission:

a person or persons appointed by the Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services to investigate a dispute and make recommendations for its settlement.

  

Interest arbitration:

settlement of a collective bargaining dispute over what terms and conditions are to be included in a collective agreement by having an impartial third party conduct a hearing and render a decision that is binding on both the union and the employer.

Lockout:

a restriction by an employer of work that would normally be available for employees to perform. It is intended to compel those employees to agree to terms and conditions of employment.

Lockout notice:

an announcement, in writing, given to the union and to the Labour Relations Board by the employer, that it is the employer's intention to lock out employees.

Mediation:

a method of settling collective bargaining disputes in which the parties to the dispute use a third person - called a mediator - as an intermediary.

Non-affiliation clause:

a collective agreement provision, negotiated by the parties, under which the employees covered by the agreement are not required to work with persons who are not members of the employee’s union or another union specified by the agreement.

Notice to bargain:

a notice, served by either the union or employer to the other, to initiate collective bargaining.

  

Order:

a ruling made by the Labour Relations Board to correct a contravention of the Labour Relations Code.

Picketing:

 

a means by which employees attempt to increase pressure on their employer to settle an outstanding difference; also, an attempt to persuade persons not to do work for, or do business with, the employer.

Replacement worker:

a person hired or transferred to work at a workplace where a legal strike or lockout is in effect to perform the work of the striking or locked-out employees.

Representation vote:

a vote ordered by the Labour Relations Board to determine whether employees in a bargaining unit want to have a particular union represent them as their bargaining agent.

Settlement officer:

a person appointed by the director of the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau to assist a union and employer to resolve a grievance.

Special mediator:

a person appointed by theMinister of Labour and Citizens' Services to help a union and employer settle the terms and conditions of a collective agreement.

Special officer:

a person appointed by the Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services to deal with disputes during the term of a collective agreement.

Strike:

a temporary stoppage of work or a concerted action by a group of employees acting with a common purpose.

Strike notice:

an announcement that the employees will go out on strike, which is in writing and given by the union to the employer and to the Labour Relations Board.

Successorship:

 

the preservation of bargaining rights of employees of a business through the automatic transfer of the obligations under an existing certification and collective agreement from the vendor of the business to the purchaser.

Successor Union:

a union that succeeds another by means of a merger, amalgamation or transfer of jurisdiction.

Union security clause:

a clause in a collective agreement making union membership compulsory for all or some of the employees in a bargaining unit.

Wildcat strike:

a strike not sanctioned by the union and which violates the collective agreement and/or the Labour Relations Code.

Work stoppage:

a cessation of normal business operations due to a strike or lockout.