RCMP union decision goes to the Supreme Court

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On Tuesday (February 18), the Supreme Court of Canada will hear arguments on whether or not RCMP officers can unionize.

Poll

Should RCMP officers be allowed to unionize?

Yes 66%
141 votes
No 20%
43 votes
Who cares? 14%
29 votes

A ruling in either direction will be of major legal significance, according to Rob Creasser, a spokesperson for the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada. The MPPAC contends that RCMP regulations preventing the formation of a union infringe on its members’ constitutionally guaranteed freedom of association.

“The Supreme Court is going to define, I think, further what collective bargaining actually means, and whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms actually protects that collective bargaining,” Creasser told the Straight in a phone interview.

The RCMP is the only major police force in Canada that doesn’t have a union. A staff-relations-representative program is the only process for resolving labour issues in the organization. A ruling that upholds this program could set a precedent for other workplaces, Creasser said.

“The worst-case scenario…is that they [the court] may say that the current system within the RCMP, which is a management-controlled system of labour relations, meets the definition of collective bargaining and that’s good enough,” Creasser explained. “So that means in other workplaces…the company could…say, ‘Well, we’re creating our own system of labour relations for you and that’s good enough to meet the definition of collective bargaining.’ ”

In 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s decision that recognized the constitutional right of Mounties to organize themselves into a union.

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