Rands and the Rand Formula
What are Rands? Simply put, Rands are employees who, while paying dues, have never formally joined the union certified to represent their workplace interests. One might ask then, if they have never formally joined the union, why should they pay dues?
In 1945, more than a half century ago, 17,000 Ford workers in Windsor, Ontario launched a strike for union recognition. The dispute was particularly lengthy and nasty. It swiftly became a national issue, symbolic of the struggle by Canadian workers to gain a fair share of the wealth created by their labour.
The federal government, faced with growing social and economic damage caused by the Ford strike, intervened in an attempt to resolve the dispute. It appointed Ivan Rand, a highly respected Supreme Court Justice, to mediate the settlement. Justice Rand’s efforts were successful and the success was largely based on a new concept that came to be known as the Rand Formula.
At the time, unions were neither as prevalent nor as accepted as they are now. Justice Rand realized that not all the Ford workers would be willing to join the new and untried union. At the same time, he recognized that a secure financial base was essential if the union was to do its job properly. While not insisting on mandatory union membership, Justice Rand required all Ford workers to pay dues to the union. This is what we know today as the compulsory check-off or union dues.
Justice Rand accurately noted that all workers — whether union members or not — would benefit from a union-negotiated contract. While no one was forced to join the union, freeloading would not be permitted. If you got the benefit, he ruled, you should help pay the cost.
The Rand Formula, with its underlying principle of fairness, has stood the test of time. It is as valid in today’s federal public service as it was in the auto plants of 1945.
Do we, as a union, have to represent rands? If a grievance is with respect to the interpretation or application of a collective agreement, the short answer is, yes. If the matter is disciplinary in nature, a classification grievance or a complaint before the Public Service Staffing Tribunal, no.
Can a Rand member attend union meetings, have a say in how the union is run, or hold office in the union? No.
The above are some of the reasons Rand members should sign a membership card and unions should encourage Rand members to become an active part of their union local. Solidarity is strength!