Complaint Against Bargaining Agent for Arbitrary, Discriminatory or Bad Faith Conduct
What is the duty of fair representation?
Under section 37 of the Canada Labour Code, a union or its representative must fairly represent all employees in the bargaining unit, whether or not they are union members, with respect to their rights under their collective agreement.
This does not mean that the union must process each and every grievance at all steps of the grievance procedure or that it must refer all grievances to arbitration. It does not mean that unions cannot make mistakes or that they must always be correct in every assessment they make as to the merits of an employee's grievance even though that mistake could have a negative impact on an employee. It should also be noted that a union can negotiate changes to its collective agreement even though the changes could negatively affect some employees, provided the union does not act in a discriminatory or arbitrary manner, or in bad faith.
For more information on the duty of fair representation, please consult information circular no. 11.
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