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June 28, 2007
Supreme Court says Collective Bargaining right protected by Charter
A June decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down legislation aimed directly at taking away the rights of working people is a landmark.  

In a groundbreaking ruling extending the freedom of association provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include the right to free collective
bargaining, the Court struck down key sections of a 2002 law that restricted and gutted the bargaining rights of health care workers.

It’s a decision that has widespread implications for unions across the country.

“This is a great day for workers because this decision means that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does protect workers’ rights including the
process of collective bargaining,” says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

In a six to one decision, the Court ruled that the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29), passed by the British Columbia government in
2002 trampled on the rights of health care workers in that province, in particular their right to freedom of association as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights
and Freedoms.

Bill 29 eliminated collective agreement provisions for health care workers and paved the way for massive job losses and privatization.

The controversial and unprecedented law excluded health and community social services workers from labour laws that protect other workers in the province.
And it eliminated collective agreement provisions that safeguarded workers and services from privatization.

The ruling means that workers’ freedom of association includes the right to bargain a collective agreement – and that it cannot be ripped apart at a
government's convenience.

Unions argued that the BC legislation amounted to a denial of the rights of their workers to bargain collectively across the health and social services sector.
Once in place, the law effectively re-wrote collective agreements to facilitate the government’s plan to contract out union jobs to contract workers and pay them
less for the same work.

To read the complete decision,
Click Here

Source:  CAW NewsNow
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