N.L. labour laws to change: Labour minister

New rules will limit length of strikes, change certification process
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 06/25/2012

Labour laws in Newfoundland and Labrador will be changing, Labour Minister Terry French announced on June 18.

Changes to the Labour Relations Act will limit the length of strikes, encourage labour continuity for large projects and establish a system for automatic union certification.

"We're competing now on a national and international level for work, so it's important that we have modern legislation," French told CBC News.

The following changes are included in the legislation, entitled Bill 37:

  • Certification of a union will be automatic if more than 65 per cent of workers sign membership cards. If more than 40 per cent sign cards, a certification vote will take place.
  • The labour minister will appoint a first collective agreement mediator where the parties have failed to conclude a first collective agreement within 60 days of initially serving notice to negotiate.
  • Employers will have the power to require workers to vote on a final contract offer.
  • Each party will have the right to require that the collective agreement include a provision for a joint labour relations committee.
  • The labour relations board will have broader powers to deal with bargaining in bad faith.
  • The right of employers to express opinions that are not coercive, intimidating, threatening, promising or exerting undue influence will be recognized.

Several changes would impact special project orders.

  • The minimum construction period will be reduced from three years to two years for a special project order.
  • The lieutenant governor-in-council will be able to prescribe the geographic site or scope of work to be included or excluded from a special project order.
  • Special project orders may overlap in time and geographically.

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