A strike vote by secret ballot is required before a union can lawfully commence a strike of employees in the bargaining unit.
A union holding a strike vote is a common occurrence in collective bargaining and does not mean that a strike will occur.
All employees in a bargaining unit have the right to participate in such a vote and must have ample opportunity to cast a ballot at a reasonably convenient time and place.
The strike vote must be taken within 30 days before the collective agreement expires or at any time after the collective agreement expires. In the case of a first collective agreement, the vote must be conducted after the appointment of a conciliation officer. In either case, a majority (50% +1) of those voting by secret ballot must vote in favour of strike action in order for the union to be able to call a strike on or after the strike deadline date.
This is a vote that is conducted entirely by the union; it is not supervised by the Ministry of Labour. It is entirely up to the union as to whether it releases the specific vote results. The outcome of the vote will tell the union whether the employees in the bargaining unit authorize the union to call a strike. As a result, all bargaining unit members are encouraged to participate in the vote.
Posted in: FAQs: Collective Bargaining