Certification Delay Under Elections and Card-Check Procedures: Empirical Evidence from Canada

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Industrial and Labor Relations Review


Delay, Unfair Labor Practice Complaints, Time Limits, Certification Success


This paper examines the determinants and consequences of delay in the union certification process using data from certification applications and unfair labor practice complaints (ULPs) from British Columbia (1986-98) and Ontario (1993-98). During the period studied, there were several changes in delay-related laws, including laws regulating the presence and stringency of election time limits and the availability of expedited ULP hearings. Key findings are that ULPs against the employer reduced the likelihood of compliance with time limit laws except where expedited ULP hearings also existed; employer-filed objections to the application reduced the likelihood of compliance; and election delay reduced the likelihood of certification success both in policy regimes without time limits and in those where stipulated time limits were frequently breached. Overall, the results suggest that enforced time limits on elections coupled with expedited ULP hearings may substantially mitigate the adverse effects of election delay on certification success.

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