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Can a small business de-unionize?

By Jane Southren |

Elizabeth asked:

As a small business is there anyway to de-unionize it if they don't want to be unionized?

Jane Southren answered:

This is a question that really will require the reader to get specific legal advice from a labour lawyer.

There is such a thing as de-certification, but it is a very complicated procedure and even contemplating it is rife with all kinds of dangers and pitfalls which, if fallen in by any of the company's management, could really prejudice the company.

I would like to address one thing that arises out of how I read the question. I may be misunderstanding the question but it appears that the reader is asking if the company can de-unionize if the company doesn't want to be unionized.

Just to be clear, it isn't actually the company that gets "unionized."

It is the companies employees who vote to be collectively represented by a union in their bargaining with the company that employs them, and if a sufficient number of them vote to be so represented then the company is bound by that decision and has to negotiate with the collective bargaining unit in respect of its relationship with its employees. So the company doesn't get the opportunity to decide that it does or doesn't want to be "unionized," and the company can find itself in very deep water with the Labour Relations Board if it tries to do anything to undermine its employees in discussions they are having that might give rise to a union representing them.

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