Questions About Forming A Union

No. People join unions to get more job security. We believe every worker in Alberta has the right to join a union. The law is on your side. Without a union, you are only covered by the Employment Standards Act – the bare minimum.

When you begin the process of forming a union you become protected by the much stronger Alberta Labour Code – the law that protects union members in Alberta.You cannot be fired for joining a union. Under the Labour Code you can only be fired for just cause.

The Alberta Labour Board is aware that some bad employers would try to fire union supporters if they could get away with it. Because of this, during a union organizing drive, there is scrutiny placed on your employer. The employer is required to prove to the labour board the reason why someone is let go.

When you start the process of joining a union, your job is protected.

Only if you tell them. Joining a union is 100% confidential. Neither UFCW Local 401 nor the Labour Board will ever tell your employer if you have signed a membership card.

  • UFCW local 401 is a democratic organization run by its members.
  • You elect the local officers.
  • You vote on issues of importance to you.
  • You vote on your contract.

We believe anyone! It is your right to join a union under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As long as you don’t have the power to hire and fire at the workplace, you can join a union.

No. It is illegal to close a workplace because a group of employees decide to join a union. The choice to join a union is yours, not your employer’s.

Without a contract, your employer can change policies and conditions of work whenever they feel like it. A negotiated union contract protects the terms and conditions of your employment. Your rights under a union contract cannot be altered at your employer’s whim. It is enforceable by representatives who work on your behalf with grievance and arbitration procedure. It’s a contract! And it has teeth!

Alberta’s labour law is very specific about who can and cannot vote. Company owners and managers that hire, fire or discipline are excluded from voting.

Only you and your co-workers ever get to decide whether to go on strike.

The majority of the members in your workplace must vote by secret ballot in favour of a strike before a strike can be called.

All UFCW Local 401 members pay union dues. When your workplace is first unionized, you will not pay any union dues, however, until we have been able to negotiate a first contract with your employer.

The amount of dues paid by UFCW Local 401 members was determined and voted on by members through a consultation process that was tasked with finding the balance between affordability and the kind of union our members wanted to build.

Currently, in most UFCW Local 401 workplaces, union dues are set at $9.25 per week plus a thirty cents per hour up to a maximum of 40 hours. That way, contributions are based on how many hours you work.

Union dues are used not only to protect jobs but to fund negotiations for better wages and working conditions, to pay for professional lawyers when needed, to organize more workers and thus make the union stronger, to train stewards and health and safety committee activists, advocate for our members’ interests in the public sphere, and much more.

Another advantage is that UFCW Local 401 is a non-profit organization and your union dues are completely tax-deductible. That means you get back a significant portion of your union dues when you do your tax return.

Because unions get their funds only from their members, there are no divided loyalties. Unions stand up for their members – the people who pay all the bills. Yes, unions can cooperate with governments and employers, but where their members’ interests are at stake, unions side with their members. In no union is this more true than in UFCW Local 401. For example, in order to protect its members’ legal rights, UFCW Canada has gone to the Supreme Court of Canada several times – and won!

This is a threat we hear from many employers and they give you no credit. You and your co-workers aren’t stupid people. You wouldn’t drive your employer out of business by making demands that cannot be met.

You are joining the union only to improve what you have and set in place a contract that gives you a voice in your working lives.

Common sense says that no union is going to negotiate union contract that will cost its members their jobs. Employers often find that because of the union contract which sets them apart from other non-union companies, that they are more attractive to workers seeking employment and have less turn over.