Starting a Union

Teachers at private post-secondary schools have joined our Union for various reasons. In some cases it was due to pay conflicts and cuts in wages. In others it was due to the sudden dismissal of teachers for raising concerns in the workplace. Teachers have joined because long standing working conditions were far below the average and employer promises were never kept. One of the most important reasons to join the ETEA is to gain a voice in the workplace.

Join ETEA and have a voice in your workplace. Get better wages, a fair and transparent seniority system, paid-prep time, extended benefits and a workplace you can feel proud coming to. You will be joining a growing movement towards professional standards in our industry.  Only by uniting can we truly raise the standards and improve the conditions of private post-secondary teachers. Join us on the path to making a real difference in our profession. Contact the ETEA to speak to an organizer today;  all conversations are strictly confidential.

Join ETEA: Email      Phone: 604-682-2465

How Do I Start a Union?

Talk to an ETEA Organizer for a confidential discussion. The ETEA and FPSE have resources to help and protect you through the process.

Sign the Cards. Under the BC Labour Relations Code 45% of eligible teachers need to sign a Union membership card. An employer cannot fire you for wanting to join a Union. Signing a card gives you legal protection.

Have ETEA submit an application for certification to the Labour Relations Board. The employer will be notified and within 10 calendar days a vote must be held.

Stay positive and motivated for 10 days. Watch closely for an employer’s anti-union tactics. There are several things an employer cannot do over these ten days. Employers stay very close to and often cross this line. Record everything and keep ETEA informed so we can file an unfair labour practice on your behalf.

Vote! Bring democracy into the workplace and make the decision as a group to join the ETEA. 51% of ballots cast must be in favour of joining the Union.

Negotiate your first Collective Agreement. Form a small bargaining committee.  ETEA is part of a larger federation FPSE. One of their skilled negotiators will work with your committee in negotiations. Negotiating time is usually during work hours and committee members are paid their normal hours. The teachers and the employer are both obligated to negotiate together in good faith.

What Can’t the Employer Do?

You have rights under the law to join a Union. There are several things that employers may do that constitute unfair labour practices. If any of the following occur at your workplace contact your Union representative as soon as possible.

The Employer Cannot:

  • Make threats about job loss, layoffs or loss of benefits because of a Union
  • Say they will not negotiate with the Union
  • Ask employees who has signed a union card
  • Offer assistance to help workers join the Union
  • Distribute threatening, intimidating or coercive anti-union letters or leaflets
  • Reassign union supporters to less desirable shifts/work areas without cause or reasonable business justification
  • Transfer, fire or lay off Union supporters without cause or proper justification
  • Intimidate workers by saying he/she knows who’s signed cards
  • Distribute anti-union “revocation” cards during work time

The Employer Can:

  • Tell employees what they think about a Union so long as they don’t use threats or undue influence
  • Can make a pitch for the company or organization and talk about the benefits of the company
  • Guess the questions about the union that might be bothering people and give their answers. But they’re not supposed to put pressure on workers
  • Give everyone a raise or increase benefits during an organizing drive
  • Hold monthly, weekly or daily meetings to solve problems
  • Set up a suggestion box
  • Set up a complaint process
  • Provide free coffee and doughnuts for employees
  • Send letters to their employees’ homes as long as they are not threatening, intimidating or coercive
  • Say that you are all part of one big happy family