Collective bargaining rights on the horizon for RCMP

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The RCMP is the only police service in Canada without the power to unionize but officers may soon be granted that freedom if a proposed bill goes ahead.

The legislation, due to be tabled in early 2016, would give Mounties the ability to choose representation independent from management, if they wish.

However, commissioned officers and management would be excluded from any labour coalition and – like all Canadian police forces – would be prohibited from striking.

Currently, officers have voluntary associations funded by members' dues that work with management to establish pay and benefits – but the top brass always has final say.

The previous ban on RCMP officers unionizing was lifted in January of this year, when the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that Mounties had a right to organize and gave the government a year to create a new labour-relations regime.

That deadline will be missed as the House of Commons will not return until late January 2016.

"The government of Canada is obviously anxious to move this initiative forward just as quickly as we can," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told the House of Commons earlier today.

He said the legislation would provide for:
  • A single, national bargaining unit for all RCMP regular members and reservists, excluding managers.
  • Binding arbitration as the mandatory dispute-resolution process for bargaining purposes, with no right to strike.
  • Preservation of the recourse measures in the RCMP Act for issues relating to member conduct and discipline.
 
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