Myths About Unions: The Top Five Union Myths Busted

    A union’s goal is always to go on strike

    • Unions are in the business of reaching agreements, not stalemates. Strikes are a last resort, and they only occur when the majority of members vote in favour of them. In fact, only 3% of union negotiations in Canada end in a strike, the other 97% result in collective bargaining agreements.

    Employers are the union’s enemy

    • While the goal of unions is to ensure that employers treat workers with respect and consideration for their quality of life, that doesn’t make them the enemy. After all, without employers, what business would any of us be working for? Maintaining functional relationships with management is important for achieving the most optimal negotiations for our members.

    Unions have outlived their usefulness

    • The labour movement has been a very important part of modern society for over 100 years. Many of the standards all workers expect today, like reasonable hours of work, a minimum wage, weekends and paid holidays, are the result of unions.
    • In Canada today, corporations are becoming more powerful and income inequality continues to grow. Without the voice of unions and the organized workforce, who will stand up for equality?

    Unions protect people who slack off on the job

    • Why would organizations founded on fairness and equity in the workplace promote members not pulling their own weight?
    • Workers who are constantly late, absent or lazy on the job are not protected under any collective bargaining agreement. A union contract protects good workers from unfair punishment or dismissal, making sure that all members are treated equally in disciplinary situations. This keeps the workplace fair for everyone.

    Workers are forced to join unions

    • When a workplace is in the process of unionizing, the Government of Alberta ensures that there is a fair and democratic vote amongst all employees. Everyone has the option whether or not to sign a union card. If the workplace votes to unionize, all workers, regardless of whether they have signed a card, are required to pay union dues. Why? Because once a collective bargaining agreement exists, everyone in that workplace receives its benefits, as management is held to a higher standard that applies across the board.

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