Know Your Rights

Unionized and non-unionized workers have rights.

These laws governing employment, safety, discrimination and overtime all exist because millions of union members fought for them.

United Steelworkers enjoy better workplaces because our members know their rights.

Steelworkers are trained in how to win safer working conditions, fight harassment at the workplace, and win fairer pay and benefits. We have organizers, negotiators, researchers and a legal team that help our members protect their rights.

If you think that your boss is breaking the law and you want to join a union to have a team on your side, sign up to join our union.

You have the right to join a union and organize with others to form a union.

You and your co-workers have the right to:

  • Discuss the union at work during non-working hours
  • Distribute union information in non-work areas during non-working hours
  • Sign a USW membership card
  • Help fellow employees join your union
  • Participate in meetings to discuss joining your union

Your employer cannot:

  • Interfere with the formation, selection or administration of your union
  • Coerce or intimidate employees to stop them from joining your union
  • Discriminate against employees because of their activities in support of your union
  • Make promises like better pay or benefits to encourage employees to oppose your union
  • Threaten to close your workplace or lay people off if you form your union
  • Demand to know about your union support
  • Help anti-union employees to oppose your union
  • Spy on employees for the purpose of observing union activities

If you think that your boss is breaking the law and you want to join a union to have a team on your side, sign up to join our union.

You have the right to a safe workplace. You have the right to refuse work that is unsafe.

You and your co-workers have the right to refuse work that is unsafe. The refusal must be reported to the employer or supervisor who investigates the matter. 

The definition of danger under the law reads as follows:

"Any hazard, condition or activity that could reasonably be expected to be an imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a person exposed to it before the hazard or condition can be corrected or the activity altered."

If you think that your boss is breaking the law and you want to join a union to have a team on your side, sign up to join our union.

You have the right to a workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination.

Employers cannot refuse to hire workers because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, skin colour, sex, age, marital status, disability or sexual orientation.

Employers or other workers cannot discriminate or make racist or offensive comments. This is called harassment and is against the law.

If you think that your boss is breaking the law and you want to join a union to have a team on your side, sign up to join our union.

You have the right to minimum employment standards.

Employment standards are established by Federal and provincial laws to guarantee minimum rights in the workplace. 

Areas covered by employment standards in your province can include:

  • Hours of work
  • Overtime pay
  • Minimum wage
  • Employees must be paid regularly
  • Employees must receive a statement showing wages and deductions
  • Public holidays
  • Compensation
  • Meal breaks
  • Paid vacation
  • Sick days
  • Pregnancy and Parental leave
  • Personal emergency leave
  • Family caregiver or medical leave
  • Emergency child care leave

If you think that your boss is breaking the law and you want to join a union to have a team on your side, sign up to join our union.