B.C. Labour Relations Code Section 40: Additional voting requirements
- Subject to section 17 (2), all employees in a bargaining unit, whether or not they are members of the trade union or of any constituent union of a council of trade unions, may participate in votes held by a trade union of its members on a question of whether to strike or whether to accept or ratify a proposed collective agreement.
- If a trade union coordinates collective bargaining on behalf of more than one bargaining unit, the results of any vote conducted by the trade union of a particular bargaining unit must not be counted until all bargaining units engaged in the bargaining have voted.
- If a vote is conducted by mail, then for the purposes of this Code, the vote is deemed to have been held on the day that ballot papers are left with a post office as defined by the Canada Post Corporation Act for transmission to the persons who are to vote or, if the ballot papers are left for that purpose with the post office on different days, on the last of those days.
Ratification is not required by law in this province. Nevertheless, it is a virtually universal practice of unions to put agreements to ratification by the members of the bargaining unit. Ratification votes are regulated by Section 40 of the Code.
Ratification, therefore, is a process to be conducted by the certified union among the members of the bargaining unit.
A legal opinion on this subject concluded:
We have found no cases in which a union has attempted to ratify a tentative collective agreement among persons outside the bargaining unit, nor to make it subject to approval by a third party. However, it is clear that the Code contemplates bargaining by the local and ratification only by the employees in the bargaining unit. While the matter is not free from doubt, we consider it likely that the Labour Relations Board would find it to be a violation of the duty to bargain in good faith for a local to make its agreement at the table subject to ratification by persons outside the bargaining unit such as SBC or some other provincial body or assembly.
Excerpt from correspondence: Alan Francis (Harris & Co.)
to Hugh Finlayson (BCPSEA)
June 22, 1999
File No. 000572.050