The garage workers at Fredericton Toyota have been fighting for four months to be certified as a labour union. In February, 80 per cent of the workers signed membership cards in an application to form a union, but they’ve been awaiting recognition.
Since the filing, pro trade union employees say they have dealt with a campaign of pressure and harassment from management, including re-arrangement of their duties, disciplinary action that could lead to termination, and intimidation.
Michael Myshrall, a mechanic, says he’s being targeted for being pro-union. “Management started filing complaints against me after they found out I was organizing,” says Myshrall. “I’ve never been written up before that.” Myshrall is currently on stress leave until June 30th.
The workers are forming a union to bargain for fair compensation and workplace health and safety. “We’re not really asking for too much, we just want a safe workplace and pay for time worked,” says Myshrall.
In New Brunswick labour law, the Labour and Employment Board typically recognizes applications based on the amount of worker support: if 40-50 per cent of workers in the bargaining unit support the application, recognition goes to a vote. If 50-59 per cent of workers support the application, the board can decide whether to hold a vote or recognize the union. At 60 per cent, the Labour and Employment Board certifies the formation of a union without a vote.
A hearing to recognize the union is scheduled for June 17, 2021.
Angus Fletcher is a Frederiton-based tech worker, activist and musician.