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  • Writer's pictureUWW Canada

Common anti-union myths & tactics of the employer

Updated: Feb 17

So the boss is probably mad because they found out you and your coworkers are organizing.

Here are some common things the boss might say and do in response to a union drive. Let's break down the truth of the matter:

1. The union can’t guarantee you anything

By organizing and voting yes you are guaranteeing yourself a seat at the table and a process to bargain for the things you and you coworkers deem important. The boss doesn’t want to be held accountable or give up that power. You may not get everything you bargain for in your first contract but statistics show unions have better wages, benefits and outcomes for members vs non union workplaces.

2. The union is going to take all your money

This is fear mongering! Yes you pay dues and they are typically low; they pay for services, education and benefits. They are also tax deductible so you get that money back. In addition, most bargaining processes take that into account and negotiate for raises to cover dues so you aren’t losing anything.

3. You don’t ‘need’ a union’

If things were fine, you wouldn’t be here or considering organizing at all. You’ve probably been frustrated and disappointed in the lack of progress and accountability. A collective bargaining agreement will outline processes and procedures to make the workplace better and more fair for everyone. No more nepotism/favoritism, no more scheduling issues, inclusion of health and safety, and you can go to work and know what to expect. If you have a problem the agreement outlines how it is solved and you don’t have to go it alone.

4. You can get in trouble for unionizing


You can’t organize on company time but you are protected under the labour relations act when organizing. If they try to punish or fire you, the union can help. We still think best practices include organizing quietly to reduce employer attacks. But the law is on your side!


Common tactics

  • Spying, “scabbing”

Sometimes your coworkers are sympathetic to the boss. A union drive is a democratic process and everyone is entitled to their opinion but exposing your colleagues and organizing to management is a major no-no. Be mindful of who you share information with and how. And try to talk to people one on one first. Lastly, Avoid using the company WIFI where possible for best security practices. Keep your electronic devices locked. Don’t log into your work tablets or computers with your personal credentials. Cyber attacks and spying have been reported.

From Wikipedia: "Scabs or Strikebreakers are usually individuals who were not employed by the company before the trade union dispute, but rather hired after or during the strike to keep the organization running. "Strikebreakers" may also refer to workers (union members or not) who cross picket lines..."

  • Intimidation

The boss may try and corner you and have individual meetings. They may take an uncharacteristically empathetic tone or try to bully or threaten you. Stay strong! There is power in numbers! Keep track of everything and take notes. Your union organizer is there to help if they do unfair practices. Recordings are always helpful.

  • Sudden Promises or Offers of Promotion

The boss may propose changes to your duties, offer raises, promise benefits etc in exchange for your vote against unionizing or abstaining. Get everything in writing! A lot of these promises are empty or temporary. This is a tactic that seeks to divide you from your colleagues and make you cast doubt on whole process. However, once you get this in writing, you can bargain to get their offer implemented for all of your coworkers (they clearly have the ability), and if they refuse to write it down: RED FLAG!

We know the process isn’t easy but stay strong! Meet regularly, track changes and know that through solidarity and collective power you are changing your workplace for the better of everyone!

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