Once upon a time, two carpenters were assembling a plastic garden shed for the Region of Waterloo. They said to one another, “This looks like ICI construction work to us. Let us go forth and organize ourselves with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, since we too are joining things together.” And so it was that on that Saturday, when no one else was working, the two carpenters decided to apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for certification of the Region of Waterloo, for all construction work both now and forevermore.
This sounds like a fable, but it isn’t.
In Ontario, if fifty-five percent of construction workers on a job site on a given day sign up with a union, the union can apply to become the bargaining agent for the company—no vote from the other workers is required.
Once the union comes in, the company automatically falls under the union’s collective agreement.
Even though a region or municipality isn’t really a construction company, the Carpenters’ Union is attempting to certify the Region of Waterloo as they would a company.