Labour Board calls for a new vote by Canora Tim Hortons employees

After becoming the first Tim Hortons outlet in Saskatchewan to receive certification for a union, Canora Tim Hortons employees have learned they will be required to revote.

In a decision announced on July 20, the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board has, by a two to one decision, decided that a second certification vote would be required.

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Vas Gunaratna, union representative, Workers United Canada Council, said the board decided that since the workers were in a group at the time of the vote, the secret ballot aspect of the vote could have been violated. However, he said the union was not found responsible for any wrongdoing.

Gunaratna said no changes were made to the voting process or the actual ballots, and new ballots have been sent out to the workers.

He said the labour board decision resulted from an appeal to the board by the employer, Amenity Health Care LP.

The new vote will include several new workers who did not take part in the original vote, which adds uncertainty to the process. There is a real possibility the union could be rejected, or the result could stay the same, according to Gunaratna.

He said the employer did its best to oppose and delay the original certification vote and the collective bargaining process, but some progress had been made towards a collective agreement.

He was hopeful that if the second certification vote was once again in favour unionization, the bargaining process could begin where the two sides had left off. But he realized the employer may attempt a delay tactic and try to restart the process from the very beginning.

Gunaratna said he would prefer to see the Canora Tim Hortons employees vote in favour of unionization once again, but the most important thing was that, whatever the final result, “the workers step up and make their feelings known.”