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I have a union at work. How does this affect my rights as a worker?

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I have a union at work. How does this affect my rights as a worker?
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I have a union at work. How does this affect my rights as a worker?
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Reviewed: 
February 15, 2018
Answer

If you have a union at work:

  • your collective agreement sets out your conditions of employment, like wages, hours of work, and overtime pay
  • what's in the collective agreement is decided through collective bargaining
  • you pay union dues, which your employer takes from your pay and sends to the union

If you have a complaint against your employer about your rights in the agreement, you usuallly have to follow the process in the collective agreement.

But there are some situations when you might have other options, for example, if your complaint relates to human rights or safety at work. See Step 4 for more information.

Minimum standards

The conditions in the collective agreement must meet minimum standards. For most workers in Ontario, these standards are in Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA).

Some industries are covered by federal laws. These are laws made by the Government of Canada and they apply throughout the country. These industries include banks, airlines, some trucking businesses, and broadcasting.

Workers in these industries are covered by the Canada Labour Code. Like the ESA, the Canada Labour Code sets out minimum standards employers must follow.

Collective agreements set conditions of employment that are better for workers than the minimum standards in the law.

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