Definitions and terms

The formal process by which the union/union member and the employer in a dispute submit their differences to the judgment of an impartial person (an arbitrator) appointed by mutual consent or statutory provision. An arbitration hearing loosely resembles a courtroom setting.

collective agreement:
A contract that describes the terms and conditions of employment for employees in their workplace, the rights of employees, and the obligations of the employer. The terms of the agreement are legally binding on the union and your employer, and they are enforceable under law. Collective agreements protect employees.

dues/union dues/membership dues:
Dues are the cost of membership in a union. They are used to fund the various activities which the union engages in such as (but not limited to) collective agreement bargaining, agreement enforcement, arbitrations, and membership meetings.

A union is a group or groups of like-minded individuals or workers who come together to collectively bargain for better working conditions.

union staff:
Employees hired by the union to assist union members. Union staff are sometimes mistakenly referred to as ‘the union’, but it is the union members – not staff – who comprise a union.