Unifor celebrates Supreme Court’s ruling on basic bargaining rights


Ottawa—Unifor members from coast to coast enthusiastically welcome today’s Supreme Court decision to reject legislation that sought to limit collective bargaining and legal job action. The Court has ruled that Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s attempt to strip public sector workers of fundamental rights under “essential services” legislation is unconstitutional.

“The freedom to collectively bargain has been upheld again in the highest court as a fundamental right of all Canadians that cannot be undermined by governments,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor’s Western Region Director. “Collective bargaining is the key legal tool that working people have to level the playing field with employers.”

In the case Saskatchewan Federation of Labour et al. v. Her Majesty the Queen, in Right of the Province of Saskatchewan the Supreme Court has ruled that the Public Service Essential Services Act unduly infringes upon the freedom of association of employees protected under the Canadian Charter of Human Rights.

The Act received international condemnation, including from the independent United Nations organization that oversees basic labour standards. It called on the Wall government to amend the legislation, noting that it didn’t meet basic international standards.

“Unions protect and expand peoples’ rights at work,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President. “Canada’s constitution clearly enshrines the freedoms provided by unions.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.