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Unionize with Ontario's Professional Employees' Union

Five reasons to join AMAPCEO

  1. To ensure fairness and transparency at work through a legally binding contract that provides clarity, consistency, and protections—a contract that you and your colleagues have a say in negotiating.

  2. To provide you with a fair dispute resolution process to challenge violations of the collective agreement, once it is negotiated.

  3. To protect job security in a time of financial restraint and uncertainty.

  4. To gain access to excellent professional advice and support from AMAPCEO staff, legal counsel, and volunteer representatives.

  5. To allow you and your colleagues to continue to provide effective professional services to fellow Ontarians without having to worry about poor working conditions, an unfair workplace, or similar distractions.

Kristin McMartin

"All of the AMAPCEO members within my branch carried over their collective agreement, benefits and salary when we [were amalgamated]. I heard that some non-union colleagues from all three organizations did not have the protection that AMAPCEO provided for my colleagues and I. If I had not been a union member, the same thing could have happened to me and I could have lost my seniority."

- Kristen McMartin, Ontario Health - Quality Unit, 18 years

Woman at a microphone

Giving you a voice at the table

Ontarians are proud of the public services that make a direct difference in our lives every day.

You take care of Ontarians through your work, but in order for you to do your best, it is important that you have fair working conditions, respect from your employer, job security, and a meaningful voice at work.

Stability during uncertain times 

As public service employees, you are often impacted by external decision-makers. Political leaders use coded language like ‘efficiency’ and ‘restraint’ instead of ‘austerity.’ Wage freezes, an increase in temporary contracts, and leaving positions unfilled may help give the illusion of a balanced budget, but adding to already overwhelming workloads does not create a good working environment. As a non-union employee, you are affected by unilateral and arbitrary decisions. In an increasingly unpredictable environment, employees’ ability to negotiate and codify terms and conditions of employment in a secure collective agreement is the best way to protect working conditions and require employers to listen to concerns.

A legally-binding guarantee 

A collective agreement is a legally binding contract that ensures your employer consults with you by working collaboratively to seek solutions on matters that affect the terms and conditions of your employment. A collective agreement protects wages, working conditions, job security, and more. Importantly, a collective agreement means that your workplace is governed with transparency and fairness.

You have a choice 

Uniting with your colleagues to form a union means security in your future, a meaningful voice in workplace issues, respect from your employer, and fairness at work. You have the opportunity to take charge and positively impact your work life and your career. You deserve to have a voice in  your future.

How AMAPCEO can help 

AMAPCEO is a member-driven organization of professional employees, dedicated to providing outstanding services to members. AMAPCEO members are supported by a team of highly-skilled labour relations specialists, expert legal counsel, and a team of elected volunteer member representatives. AMAPCEO aims to defend members’ rights, protect Ontario’s public services, and advocate for better working conditions. AMAPCEO works hard to ensure fairness at work. Together, we can protect your future.

Sarah Hoy

"AMAPCEO consists of people who will stand up for my colleagues and me. The service offered by Human Resources at my workplace, on the other hand, is limited to non-existent. When I went to Human Resources and inquired about my terms of employment as a young, contract employee, I was sent a few quick, rough-looking tip sheets that were hard to understand or didn’t answer my questions. I felt that I was being treated like a second-class employee.” 

- Sarah Hoy, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 3 years

Man with an AMAPCEO flag

Questions about joining AMAPCEO

How do I join AMAPCEO?

In order for AMAPCEO to represent you and your colleagues, the independent Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) will conduct a secret-ballot certification vote at your workplace—a vote that requires a majority of those voting for approval. To actually trigger that vote, however, the law requires at least 40 per cent of employees in your workplace to sign membership cards to signify their support for AMAPCEO to represent them. Although we need a minimum of 40 per cent sign-up, AMAPCEO won’t request a vote until there is a significant majority who have signed cards. Once these cards are signed, they are confidentially submitted to the OLRB as evidence that we have sufficient support. The employer does not know who has signed a card nor how an employee has voted in a certification vote.

Card signing and certification votes can happen online, making the whole process safe during these times.

Why should I join AMAPCEO?

By joining AMAPCEO, members are able to meaningfully engage their Employer to advocate for improvements, achieve common goals and address workplace issues. AMAPCEO has over 25 years of experience negotiating collective agreements with governments from all three major political parties and with a number of employers in the Broader Public Sector. A collective agreement codifies the rules and policies governing your workplace—protecting what you now have and providing a process for negotiating desired improvements. In a non-unionized environment, any employer HR policies can be changed unilaterally by the employer at any time.

If we form a union, can we lose entitlements we currently enjoy?

Once an application for union certification is filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, your current terms and conditions of employment are frozen until your first collective agreement is negotiated. The employer, in other words, cannot unilaterally change them.

During negotiations, your employer is obligated to bargain with you in good faith and cannot retaliate against you for unionizing. While it is true that you will need to negotiate all of the terms and conditions that make up your collective agreement, including what you now have, you will have a say in what those conditions are and will vote on the final proposed agreement. Our goal is to codify what you now have and to seek improvements.

If I join AMAPCEO, who else in my workplace will be part of the union?

Most bargaining units include everyone who does similar work, but not managers who are responsible for hiring and dismissals. Please contact us if you have any questions.

What does it cost to belong to AMAPCEO?

AMAPCEO membership dues are 1% of your gross salary and, like CPP contributions, are taken by payroll deduction. New members do not start paying dues, however, until after the first collective agreement has been successfully negotiated and approved. Union dues are 100% tax receiptable. Compared to other unions, AMAPCEO dues are among the lowest in the country and have never been raised. AMAPCEO funds all of its services from its membership dues.

Can AMAPCEO take us on strike?

In over 20 years of existence, AMAPCEO has a record of achieving meaningful gains for its members through negotiations without needing to resort to strikes. AMAPCEO has a problem-solving approach to labour relations, while being principled and firm in representing members’ interests. Some of the members we represent in the health-care sector are not entitled to strike and enjoy access to binding arbitration if they reach an impasse in bargaining. Most of our members, however, negotiate under a process in which employees are entitled to strike and the employer is entitled to lock out employees—in both cases, only after negotiations have failed and following mediation. A decision to strike is not made by your union, however—it can only be made by you and your colleagues in a vote. Only a majority vote by the affected employees can authorize a strike, and only as a last resort if negotiations have stalled.

I don’t have a problem with the current management. Shouldn’t we give them a chance before we form a union?

Your current management may have the best intentions, but senior management can turn over quickly, and your circumstances can change just as quickly. In addition, of course, employers in the public sector ultimately are directed by the provincial government, which has control over budgets and salary levels and how the public sector is organized. With a collective agreement, you can guarantee that your rights will be protected. In fact, a collective agreement can be a great tool for good managers; establishing rules and norms can increase transparency and fairness for everyone.

Will my employer ever find out who has signed a card?

No. Only AMAPCEO representatives and Labour Board officials see the cards. The employer will find out how many employees signed, but will never know who. That information is not released by the Labour Board. Forming a union and collective bargaining are protected rights guaranteed by Canadian law.

Can my employer stop us from joining AMAPCEO by threatening or intimidating us?

No, this is illegal. While some employers in the private sector often attempt to violate the law, most public sector managers are sophisticated enough to know not to engage in such behaviour.

Can I discuss joining AMAPCEO while at work?

Yes. Employers cannot prohibit you from having a discussion about joining AMAPCEO or forming a union provided the conversation is within the usual range of social interaction that is allowed in the workplace (for example, during coffee breaks, before and after work hours and at lunch time.) The general guideline is that employee discussion about the union, or signing union cards, cannot interfere with anyone getting their work done.

Prokash Mondal

"The difference a good union can make is immeasurable; unions can make sure the members are treated fairly and respectfully at the workplace, members' jobs are protected, they have standard pay and benefits. It is impossible to get the same deal individually."

- Prokash Mondal, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, 10 years

Man and woman at AMAPCEO Conference

More than a collective agreement

Advocating for you and your family

AMAPCEO is dedicated to advocating for fair working conditions and benefits that make life better for you and your family.

We promote equity in the workplace and beyond. In doing so we engage with the wider community to support important issues, from equal pay to anti-harassment and anti-discrimination and more. As a union, we are open and inclusive—we invite you and your family, friends and allies to get involved in the causes that matter to us all.

Education and training

We offer skills-based workshops, training, and conferences to our volunteers on a range of topics, including Workplace Representative training, bargaining, equity in the workplace, union rights, volunteer recruitment, and more.

By participating in our education programs and workshops, you can develop a stronger voice in your workplace and advocate for fairness in a variety of areas.

Becca Mador

"One thing I would like a non-unionized worker to know about being unionized is the amazing support that a union provides to its members. Yes, unions are great because they advocate for better wages and benefits, but unions also help ensure that its members receive those benefits and are treated fairly by their employer. Having that support so you’re not ‘going it alone’ when faced with a difficult situation at your workplace is really empowering."

- Becca Mador, Public Health Ontario, 4 years

Man at AMAPCEO Conference

Know your rights

Joining a union is your legal right.

The decision to unionize is an important one, and the choice to join AMAPCEO is your legal right. Freedom of association, or the right to associate (join a union), is protected by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Each province has their own legislation surrounding labour and unions, but the Charter of Rights and Freedoms takes precedence over all provincial laws. 

Employers cannot threaten you or fire you for considering joining a union.

There are meaningful restrictions on an employer’s behavior while employees are considering joining a union. Employers cannot shut down the workplace or fire you during a union drive. They also cannot coerce, intimidate, interrogate, threaten, or bribe you and your coworkers. Most public sector managers are familiar with these rules and know not to violate the law.

Your right to express support for unionizing is protected, but you also have responsibilities. Discussions or activism about union related issues can take place in your work environment, but must only occur during non-working hours (on a break, before or after work.) You have the right to express your views on unionizing through posters, buttons, and other visual items. Showing your support in the workplace can greatly impact the results of the vote, so it is important that you and your colleagues are open about your desire to form a union.  

Joining a union is straightforward. 

In Ontario, forming a union is a two-step process that involves card-signing and a secret ballot vote. To trigger a vote, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) requires at least 40% of eligible employees to have signed union membership cards, however AMAPCEO won’t request a vote until there is a significant majority who have signed cards. 

Your employer will not know how you voted.

Once a vote is triggered, a secret ballot vote is conducted by the OLRB within a week. Votes typically take place at the workplace. Employers are not permitted to keep you from voting in the secret ballot vote. The ballots are counted by the OLRB and the employer never has access to them. The only way your employer would learn about how you voted is if you chose to make that information public. 

You have everything to gain.

Once an application for union certification is filed with the OLRB, there is a statutory freeze on your current terms and conditions of employment that lasts throughout the time it takes to negotiate a first collective agreement – in other words, during the certification/bargaining process, the employer cannot unilaterally change your working conditions. The employer is required to bargain in good faith. AMAPCEO’s goal is always to formalize benefits you currently have and seek improvements.

You do not pay dues until you have a successful collective agreement.

If the secret ballot vote is successful, you are unionized, but you still do not pay dues until you and your coworkers have negotiated your first collective agreement. There are no retroactive dues for this time period and no initiation fees.

Contact us

Want to learn more? Give us a call at 1.888.262.7236 or email