When an employee joins an organization, he/she gets the right to join a union and being represented by it. However, the decision is of the employee himself, that whether he wants to be represented by an existing union or form another trade union with a group of employees. Once, the decision to form a new union is made, the newly formed union is required to obtain the Union Certification in order to participate in the collective bargaining relationship.
The union certification is the formal determination by a state agency or the national Labour Relations Board that the specific union qualifies as the formal collective bargaining unit for an industry's or company's workers as it possesses the support from a majority of workers (or the required minimum percentage of workers). The union certification is also termed as the "certification of Bargaining Agent".
Once a union gets certified for a group of employees, this union becomes their exclusive collective bargaining agent. Unless this bargaining unit gets decertified later, the employer is bound to bargain with the union in good faith in order to reach a collective agreement. The certification of the union as exclusive bargaining agent marks a fundamental change in the employee - employer relationship. A unionized employer no longer possesses the liberty of negotiating individually with the employees on the decisions concerning the terms and conditions pertaining to the employment. These terms and conditions need to be enshrined in collective agreements only, which act as the binding contract between the union and the employer.
Requirements for Getting Certification
However, not every formed union can get the certification. There are certain requisites that need to be fulfilled in order to acquire the union certification. The first and foremost step in acquiring union certification is the support of 45 per cent of employees. The union looking forward for filing certification is required to demonstrate that at least 45 percent of employees in the organization are in the favour of being represented by this specific union and to showcase their support they are required to sign the membership cards. Once the union acquires the support, it can apply to the Labour Relations Board for certification, which conducts a secret ballet voting within 10 days of the application to confirm the support of the employees.
After this, the application proceeds for hearing before the Labour Relations board if all the certification conditions are satisfied.