A bargaining agent is:
- a union certified by the Labour Relations Board as the exclusive agent of a group of employees of an employer
- a person or employers' organization accredited by the Labour Relations Board and/or authorized by an employer member to bargain on its behalf.
Being a bargaining agent comes with certain legal obligations set out in the Labour Relations Code (the Code). A bargaining agent has an obligation to make financial statements available to its members. All bargaining agents have a duty to represent their members in a way that is not arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith.
About union representation
When you are represented by a union, the union is the exclusive bargaining agent. It represents you and all of the employees in your bargaining unit. Some employees may have a religious objection to being a union member and paying union dues. In that case they can apply for the Board for a religious exemption.
There are two main sections of the the Code that allow an employee or union member to file an application to the Board about the union. They relate to union representation and its internal affairs.
Employees may strongly disagree with the decisions the union makes on a grievance or in collective bargaining. The Board will only look at whether the union represented you in a way that was arbitrary, discriminatory, and/or in bad faith.
A union is a member-based organization that has its own internal rules for things like elections, meetings, and discipline. These internal rules are found in the union’s constitution, by-laws, and policies. The Board has very limited authority over a union’s internal affairs.