Each year, Local 2000 awards a $1,000 scholarship, named in honour of the much-beloved president of one of predecessor unions (Local 226), to one of our members or one their children or grandchildren who are entering post-secondary education.
We ask the applicants to submit and essay or digital audio file. This year our question was: “Since organizing is considered a priority for any union, where and how should Local 2000 be focusing its efforts with the new card check system in place?”
Once again, the quality of essays submitted was impressive, but our three judges were only allowed to pick one winner. This year’s winner was Deva Perdana, the son of one of our members at Purdy’s Chocolatier.
Here’s his winning essay:
In April 2022, British Columbia introduced Bill 10 – the Labour Relations Code Amendment Act, 2022. Bill 10 reintroduced the card check system back in BC, which had previously existed in 1992 before being replaced with the ballot vote system in 2001 (1). With the new system, applications are not only more accessible, it is also more efficient (King, Adam D., 2023).
The new card check system makes applying for unionization easier than ever. Using the new card check system, once a union receives 55% of the proposed bargaining unit, it will automatically become unionized. The new system means no more ballot votes and no more waiting for the Board to certify the union. Back when the card check system previously existed, the rates at which unionization happened were much higher, (Skrzypinski, C., 2023). Judging from early data, It is already apparent how this change positively benefits unions. From 2022-2023, union certification applications increased by 59.3%, (King, Adam D., 2023). According to reports, it previously took the board 46 days to process an application and certify the results. With the card check system in effect, it took an average of 8 days. With the data publicly available, it’s clear that Bill 10 has made access to unionization easier than ever, despite this, the unionization rate percentage has sunk lower and lower since 20 years ago. According to Stats Canada, the unionization rate in 2022 is sitting right under 30% (Morissette, R., 2022), leaving many people without a union.
Despite unionization being easier than ever, many are not unionized. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of awareness. Local 2000, being a media union, has the opportunity spread awareness among the youth. How many teenagers grow up learning the benefits of a union? Most teenagers never learn what a union is and this continues as they become an adult and eventually join the workforce. To Local 2000, and everyone on the inside, everyone knows the new card check system is great news! To the people who are on the outside, looking in, they don’t know what a card check system is and how it affects them, they hardly know what a union is. What Local2000 can do is start advertising to the youth. Spreading awareness among youths will encourage unionization once they join the workforce. Another place Local 2000 can spread awareness is through social media. While easier said than done, the key messages to convey are: why join a union, and how to do it. Fortunately, the “Join Us!” page of Local 2000 already has these points extremely clear and digestible. Kids are naive and often prone to exploitation, companies benefit from their lack of knowledge and understanding of the world while they do not understand the consequences until after they have grown up. If Local 2000 were able to spread general awareness of unions to youths, growing up, they would appreciate the benefits that they provide.
Recently, many unions have been on strike, whether it’s the writers and actors of Hollywood or Teamsters of UPS and Coca-Cola. If Local 2000 intends to educate the youth the brand message should be empowering and show camaraderie. It is not enough to know what a union is, instead Local 2000 should aim to explain why a union exists. People should understand why unions are striking and what they fight for, knowing what it is like within a union and their camaraderie towards one another. Workers gather around to fight for a cause, the fact that many workers are striking right now shows how important unions are.
In summary, the more people that know of unions, the more likely people will be unionized. Many workers today are striking, from the workers in Hollywood to the local hotel industry in Vancouver. With the positive implementations of Bill 10, Local 2000 has a second wind to spread awareness of unionization and allow people to empathize with those currently on strike or in a union. Any employee who understands the benefits of a union would acknowledge the good that comes from unionization.
- “Bill 10: What You Need to Know – Blog.” Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, www.boardoftrade.com/blog/bill-10-what-you-need-to-know
- King, Adam D. “British Columbia Just Gave Us More Proof: Card Check Helps Union Efforts.” Jacobin, 8 Apr. 2023, https://jacobin.com/2023/04/british-columbia-card-check-unionization-organizing-surge/
- Skrzypinski, Catherine. “British Columbia’s Card-Check Certification Makes It Easier to Join a Union.” SHRM, 15 Mar. 2023, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/global-hr/pages/british-columbia-card-check-certification-easier-to-join-union.aspx
- King, Adam D. “British Columbia Just Gave Us More Proof: Card Check Helps Union Efforts.” Jacobin, 4 Aug. 2023, jacobin.com/2023/04/british-columbia-card-check-unionization-organizing-surge
- “Coverage, Context and Change: An Update on Unionization Rates in B.C.” Business Council of British Columbia, bcbc.com/insights-and-opinions/coverage-context-and-change-an-update-on-unionization-rates-in-b-c#:~:text=There%20are%20now%20354%2C000%20union,when%20each%20had%20around%20267%2C000
- Morissette, Rene. “ Unionization in Canada, 1981 to 2022”, 23 Nov. 2022, www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/36-28-0001/2022011/article/00001-eng.htm.