Union Structure

Unions are indispensable organizations for workers. Whether working in the private or public sector, unions represent the workers’ interests and secure collective bargaining. Almost five million Canadians are part of a union, which is nearly a third of the country’s labour force. This includes teachers, industrial workers, public employees and many other labour groups, which are organized in different forms of unions. 

Union Organization Types

Unions can be divided into four different types of organization. Most unions are directly chartered locals and not part of a geo-politically subdivided union. In 2015, 34.4% directly chartered locals paid their dues directly to a labor congress and receive services. Independent locals have a share of 32.2% of unions in Canada. They are not part of a labor congress and operate independently.

25.3% unions are national unions only working in Canada. Just a small share of 5.2% operate on an international level for their members. However, nearly a quarter of unionized workers are part of an international union. The main share of members, 69.7%, is part of a national union. 

Executive Board Elections

Every union structure differs slightly from one another but they all share one feature: they elect executive boards. Unions should have an executive board, which directs the union and represents their members.

The larger the union the more complex the union structure. The following structure should serve as a basic example of a typical national union.

Example union structure

Each union states in its constitution how the union is structured and which committees have to be established and as well as officers have to be elected.

The first level of unions are locals, which are the basic unit of unions. They often consist of one or more bargaining units, e.g. several workplaces are one local. These locals are part of a region, district, area or province, which again make up the national union. Depending on the size of the union, there might be more complex structures with more subdivisions.

POLYAS Tipp: Executive board elections on every union level can take up a lot of time and expenditure. Facilitate your election administration and let your union members vote online. Contact POLYAS’ election experts now!

Secure Union Elections

Secure elections should always be the priority in union elections. Modern technology helps unions to facilitate their election process by implementing online voting systems. POLYAS CORE 2.5.0 fulfils the requirements of the international protection profile under Common Criteria standards and is a central component of our certification from the German Federal Office for Information Security.

Read more about security standards at POLYAS