The certification process

1 – Workers contact the union and meet with a union organizer

2 – Workers sign cards applying for membership in the union, and authorizing the union to represent them in negotiations with their employer.

3 – If at least 45 per cent of the workers sign membership cards, the union can make an application to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) to represent the workers of a proposed bargaining unit.

4 – The SLRB forwards the union’s application to the employer, which has three (3) business days to provide the names, addresses, job titles and dates of hire of all employees who fall into the union’s proposed bargaining unit. The employer also has ten (10) business days to issue a reply to the union’s application if they wish to challenge the application in some way. For instance, sometimes employers will dispute whether a position should be excluded from the bargaining unit.

5 – The SLRB then provides the employer’s list of employees (eligible voters) to the union. (Employee addresses are redacted.) The union has one (1) business day to inform the SLRB of any discrepancies with the list. At this point, the union notifies the SLRB if there are employees on the list who shouldn’t be on the list and/or employees who are missing from the list.

6 – If it is determined that at least 45 per cent of the employees of the proposed bargaining unit have signed cards, the SLRB will then initiate a secret ballot vote. This vote is typically a mail-in ballot that takes place over a two-week period. Anyone who is employed in the bargaining unit on the date of the union’s application and on the date when the SLRB issues its “Notice of Vote” is eligible to vote.

7 – If the majority of workers who cast ballots vote to unionize, the union is certified.

8 – Shortly after the certification order is issued by the SLRB, the CUPE National Office will assign a Local number to the new bargaining unit. Meetings and elections will be scheduled so that members can elect Local officers and a bargaining committee.  The union will serve notice to your employer to begin bargaining your first collective agreement.

Please note – the SLRB keeps information on those who signed union cards confidential. Employers never get to see the cards.