Myths & Facts

Myth: Companies close due to unions.
Fact: Companies close for economic reasons - and the vast majority of companies that close are nonunion. Often management likes to keep this myth alive, however it is illegal for a company to close or threaten to close because workers have exercised their legal right to form a Union. If this occurs, the Steelworkers’ legal department will promptly take the necessary steps to ensure your democratic rights are not violated.

Myth: Unions are outside, third party, special-interest groups.
Fact: You are the union! A union is simply a collective voice of working people standing up for their right to improve the workplace. In addition, our leadership and bargaining committee is elected to bring up our issues at the bargaining table .

Myth: Unions just want workers’ dues.
Fact: Unions are not for-profit organizations. The improvements workers win in pay, benefits and fair treatment through their unions are far greater than the cost of dues. In addition, union dues are tax deductible. Dues pay the cost of contract negotiations, grievance and arbitrations, training for members, legal fees, and much more so the worker will never have to go at it alone.

Myth: Unions are strike happy.
Fact: Unions negotiate for agreements – not strikes. Interestingly enough, 97% of collective agreements in Canada are negotiated without a strike. In fact, more working days are lost each year to workplace accidents and injuries than are lost to striking employees.

Myth: If the Union comes in my Bonus will be cut.
Fact: Section 86 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA)ensures and guarantees that that once a Union has applied for certification and the employer receives notice from the Labour Relations Board, workers’ rights and benefits cannot be altered by an employer without the unionized workers consent.

Myth: Unions should be a thing of the past.
Fact: Well that line goes back as far as 1886 when the Toronto Globe used it in an editorial. Let’s see, since then, unions have fought and gained; pension plans, medical plans, disability protection, minimum wage, health and safety, education programs, pay equity, vacations and vacation pay, and much more. Without unions the balance of power shifts dramatically to desires and decisions of the employer only.

Myth: Unions only protect the lazy … the people that should be fired.
Fact: No union contract requires an employer to keep a worker who is lazy, incompetent or constantly absent or late. What the Union does is make sure dismissals are for “Just Cause” - for real reasons - not personality clashes between the boss and employee.

Myth: Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.
Fact: Unions can make the workplace a more harmonious place to work. A union contract allows the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come up. Without a union, workers have no say, no protection and management is always right.