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Everything you wanted to know about forming a union but forgot to ask

Will management know I signed a union card?

No. The cards are seen by the union and the labour board. The employer is only told the overall proportion of employees who support the union.

But what if someone finds out? Can they fire me?

No, not legally. Canadian law protects the right of workers to form a union without fear of backlash from the employer.

After I sign a card, what’s next?

Once we have a solid majority in favour of the union, we will make an application to the labour board to make the union official. We will also talk to management to let them know. Management could choose to accept the union voluntarily. If not, the labour board will hold a secret vote of all employees. If a majority vote yes, the union will be official.

What if I don’t sign a card?

That’s ok. But if the majority of our colleagues decide they want the union, you will likely be in the new bargaining unit. And no matter who signs or doesn’t sign, everyone will enjoy the same protections and a chance to have a say on union priorities.

Then what?

Once the union is official, we can begin to meet with management. The first step is to negotiate a collective agreement. Before that, members of the new union will elect representatives from among the group and everyone can participate in setting priorities for negotiations. A bargaining committee, selected from the group, will have the support of staff of the Canadian Media Guild at the bargaining table and throughout the process. Once an agreement is reached, all members of the union will have a chance to vote on whether to approve it.

What about dues?

Under the Canadian Media Guild bylaws, you will only start to pay dues once a first collective agreement is negotiated and ratified. Dues at the Guild are 1.55% of income. Under Canadian law, dues are deducted by the employer from each paycheque and paid directly to the union. Dues are tax deductible.

What’s the Canadian Media Guild?

The CMG is 6,000 journalists, hosts, producers, technicians, videographers, editors, designers, librarians, programmers, sales/marketing reps, administrative staff and freelancers. We believe a quality media system that serves all Canadians is built on health organizations that treat workers fairly. Find out more at

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