Unions in Canada are under the regulation of the federal and provincial legislation. The unions are required by the state law to be financially accountable and democratic to their members. The federal law dictates that the private sector unions conduct free and fair elections for the purposes of selecting officers, defining membership prerequisites, setting dues and approving the union’s constitution. Albeit state laws govern public sector unions, they must also comply with similar requirements as those of private sector unions. The union constitutions must be registered with government labour boards. From the face it, that is, the legal obligation of unions to be democratic it seems that the unions are democratic. However, the execution of some of the activities of unions suggests otherwise. For instance, very few members exercise their democratic right to vote in the standard-union leadership elections. Moreover, the people who vote in the elections do not represent the membership as a whole in that older union members vote at a higher rate resulting in the prioritization of pensions at the expense of wages. Another point is that incumbent leaders often occupy the leadership positions for a long time without opposition and end up passing the leadership mantle to at times “chosen” successors instead of promoting genuine contests. Finally, unions often take political stances, particularly those at the national and state level forcing members to pay with their dues for the promotion of policies that they do not espouse. While it may be argued that the unions hold elections as they are democratically mandated to do, the execution of these elections does not subscribe to the precepts of democracy. Ever so often union members are forced to comply with union decisions that do not necessarily support. Democracy is one of the pillars of unions as mandated by provincial and federal legislation, but it does not mean that the same unions are democratic (Peirce and Bentham, 2009, p. 107).
The union locals are the workers in a particular geographic area, for instance, a municipality. In certain cases, union locals entail all workers represented by a particular union within a geographic area or workers in a certain site. In certain occasions, a union local will have no affiliation with a national, provincial, or international parent union. Union locals with no affiliation are known as independent locals. The question then arises whether union locals are independent of employers or are they incorporated into the management of the workplace? The general notion is that employers and unions are separate entities. This means that when workers