Fort Saskatchewan workers accuse employer of intimidation

The workers claim that another union came in to discourage membership in the current union and that the employer was in on it.

While reviewing the most recent new applications report published by the Alberta Labour Relations Board, I noticed an application that accuses an employer of coercion and intimidation.

Local 92 of the Construction and General Workers’ Union filed their application on 17 March 2022, alleging that the employer violated 3 sections of Alberta’s Labour Relations Code.

The employer, Golderado Contracting Corp., is a construction company based out of Fort Saskatchewan that specializes in non-residential buildings.

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According to the application, Local 92 alleges that Golderado allowed David Vanderheide, a provincial representative for the Christian Labour Association of Canada, to come spread misinformation to Golderado workers, in an attempt to sow mistrust in Local 92.

CLAC has been described as a company union, such as in a 2017 article by York University labour researchers. A company union is a union created, controlled, or otherwise influenced by the employer, which responds to its the employer’s interests rather than those of the workers.

The application claims that Vanderheide “repeated false messages to maintenance labourers and operating engineers at Golderado regarding Local 92’s pension and benefits”. It also claims that the forepersons employed by Golderado circulated “a mass CLAC campaign email during toolbox talks the day before the representation votes”.

In their application, Local 92 accuses the actions of Golderado in allowing CLAC to distribute information among Local 92 workers as being coercion, intimidation, and undue influence in an effort to discourage affiliation with Local 92. They believe that it contravenes section 151(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Code, which states:

No trade union and no person acting on behalf of a trade union shall . . . use coercion, intimidation, threats, promises or undue influence of any kind with respect to any employee with a view to encouraging or discouraging membership or activity in or for a trade union including activity relating to making or revoking an election.

Labour Relations Code, 151(1)(f)

They also believe that the employer’s actions violate section 149(1)(c):

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall . . . seek by intimidation, dismissal, threat of dismissal or any other kind of threat, by the imposition of a pecuniary or other penalty or by any other means, to compel an employee to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member, officer or representative of a trade union

Labour Relations Code, 149(1)(c)

Finally, they believe the employer’s actions also infringe section 148(1)(b):

No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or employers’ organization shall . . . contribute financial or other support to a trade union.

Labour Relations Code, 148(1)(b)

Because the ALRB doesn’t archive their weekly new applications reports, I have included this week’s report below.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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