Unionizing gives us the power to collectively bargain with our Employer and have any improvements protected in a legally binding contract. Thousands of beverage workers across Canada are already unionized with SEIU and have won major improvements through collective bargaining such as guaranteed wage increases, premiums, and superior benefit and pension plans.

Employers might say “it’s your choice to form a union” and often say “it won’t make a difference,” or “there’s nothing to be gained.” However, in practice they use various tactics and strategies to dissuade and disempower workers. If being part of a union didn’t help us win better working conditions, then why do Employers fight workers’ efforts to unionize?

When we have a union, we are protected against any unjust disciplines and termination through a grievance procedure. Without a union, an Employer can terminate workers without just cause and is only required to pay out the minimum severance as per the Employment Standards Act. Moreover, if there were ever layoffs, being unionized means we would have recall rights.

From the time Management finds out about a union drive and until we negotiate our union contract, we are protected by legal freeze provisions. That means that the Employer cannot change any terms and conditions of our work, such as wages, scheduling, benefits etc.

We begin to bargain from where we are at. Workers join unions to make improvements and move forward – not backwards.

Yes. Union contracts in the beverage sector have recall rights for seasonal workers. Through bargaining, workers have also compelled Employers to make full time-permanent positions available for contract and seasonal workers, rather than profiting off continued contract renewals.

Workers making salaries will also be protected in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Many CBAs exist that clearly lay out scheduled salary increases and properly account for overtime work.

Yes. In fact, many workers have successfully negotiated language in their CBAs that allow members to apply to a position outside of the bargaining unit, and if they don’t like it, their seniority and job with the union will still be protected.

Definitely. If we have an issue, we can always talk directly with our supervisor. The difference with a union is if we feel we were treated unfairly, we can get a fair hearing on the issue through our grievance procedure.

A union is not a third party; rather it is a democratic organization of workers. What the employer really means is that while they retain professional legal advice in dealing with employment matters, they do not want employees to have access to similar expertise.

Any improvements the company introduces in an effort to dissuade workers from forming a union can be rescinded at a later date because they are not protected by a legally binding contract.

Diversity, inclusion, and other progressive polices are extremely important in creating a fair and enjoyable place to work. However, without the power to engage in collective bargaining and have your issues addressed in a legally binding Union contract, it will be difficult to ensure these important policies and improvements remain in place and are respected.  

Dues are how workers pool money together to have the resources to organize collectively and win strong contracts. Dues are 2% of our gross wages and are tax deductible. We do not pay any dues until we negotiate and vote to approve our new union contract. Who would ever agree to something that doesn’t move us forward?

Dues make it possible to file grievances and present arbitration cases; organizing new members to make us stronger; conduct training and education; and campaigning for better labour laws.

No. There are no initiation fees.

Workers sign union cards