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I ask this question just out of curiosity. Please advise if it's a better fit for workplace or some other site.

I was hired to work at a store. I quit after having worked 2 hours. Part of the reason I quit so fast was because there was no paper work aside from the welcome email from HR. I finally received pay but given various union deductions the payment was very small (~$10). I had no idea there was a union or that this was a union job. Is this legal? Is there an upper limit to how much union fees can be taken off? Is it possible to be in a union and not know it (not withstanding union bylaws e.g. in another job management was required to periodically announce how members can contact the union and no retaliation will come for doing so)?

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    A quick google search on union disadvantages will give you a plethora of answers to your final question.
    – doneal24
    Apr 1 at 19:10
  • The last question is not one of law, and thus will not get answers. Also, 10$ resulting after 2 hours implies about minimum wage, from which then some 40% taxes and other fees are deducted.
    – Trish
    Apr 1 at 19:44
  • @doneal24 I tried doing a google search and didn't really find a good answer. For example most provided more pros than cons. Do you have a direct link?
    – bipbop1
    Apr 1 at 21:14
  • Most collective agreements I know of would require the employer to (or allow the union to) give new employees plenty of union rules/agreements/literature/safety guide. However, in this case, two hours may be too few to complete a full "welcome" process and the non-notification could be justified.
    – xngtng
    Apr 2 at 22:55

1 Answer 1

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Labor Code §70 states that

(1) Where a trade union that is the bargaining agent for employees in a bargaining unit so requests, there shall be included in the collective agreement between the trade union and the employer of the employees a provision requiring the employer to deduct from the wages of each employee in the unit affected by the collective agreement, whether or not the employee is a member of the union, the amount of the regular union dues and to remit the amount to the trade union forthwith.

so yes, it is legal to deduct union dues. There is no requirement to notify a prospective employee that they will be required to be a member of a union. The employer is required to inform you of deductions for taxes and union dues, under §254, when they pay you, which is why you know that you were a member of a union. That is what labor law gives you, but a union contract could impose other obligations on the employer. It is a matter of public record that a certain workplace is unionized, so you can find out, they just don't have to volunteer that information. There is no statutory limit on union dues, that is a matter set by the union.

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  • So it is possible for someone to receive $0 net pay, for example if they only worked 1 hour and the union fees were above 1 hour of pay? Hypothetically could someone owe money because the time they worked doesn't cover the union fees?
    – bipbop1
    Apr 1 at 21:19
  • I'd also note that the employee would almost certainly have been promptly informed of his union member if he had been employed for more than two hours, after a minimal onboarding process before showing up on site.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 1 at 21:29
  • Technically OP was probably not a union member. However, that does not affect the ability to deduct dues in a union shop. As a side note, the federal Labour Code probably doesn't apply to most stores, but provincial labour laws are broadly similar for Rand formula.
    – xngtng
    Apr 2 at 22:51

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