UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decertification : the British Columbia experience Chafetz, Israel

Abstract

Decertification is a legal term implying the dissolution of a unit of unionized employees. Just as a certification legally establishes a unionized unit of employees, a decertification eradicates the legal collective rights of the unit. This thesis examines the issue of decertification and why decertification occurs. The data is based on 43 cases of decertification in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. All the research was done by personal interviews. For each case of decertification, employers, union officials and neutral parties were asked to comment. The data was used to reconstruct the events within each case and isolate the characteristics of those involved. Most decertifications involved unskilled workers employed by small companies. The companies experience average turnover and are mostly in the manufacturing and service industries of the B.C. economy. The unions which experienced decertification are very large for B.C. and represent many small units. The unions are mostly industrial or miscellaneous locals. The employers' desire to break the certification and the unions' response to the employers' influence are the key features of decertification. The employers used a large array of tactics to break the union. At times the tactics were very subtle, such as employer comments and in other cases, the employer dismissed employees for their union activity. Because the units were very small, the union local assigned them a low priority to union resources. In many cases the union did not resist the employers' influence and a decertification resulted. In some cases, the union spent a great deal of resources to preserve the unit but employer influence in conjunction with turnover of staff resulted in the decertification.

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