What is a Ratification Vote?

The Union Bargaining Committee negotiates with the employers on behalf of the employees who are represented by the union.
Ratification by the union is the process by which members of the bargaining unit vote to accept or reject the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for a new collective agreement or modifications/revisions to the terms of an existing collective agreement, that the employer and the union have negotiated and agreed to.

This document is the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Once the MoA is agreed to between the bargaining committees, the bargaining committees recommend acceptance of the agreement to their respective members.

The process of putting the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to the members of both parties to approve is known as ratification. The contract does not become valid unless a majority (50% + 1) of the members of each party vote to approve the MoA.

Although the steps to get to the ratification (and the aftermath that follows), may be complex, the ratification vote itself is quite straightforward. The standard process for these votes is that members attend a meeting to hear about the modified/revised contract terms that the parties agreed upon and review any associated documents. The members then vote either “Yes” or “No” on whether they support their bargaining committee’s recommendation to accept the modified/revised terms outlined in the MoA. If the majority of both parties vote in favour of the MoA, it is ratified and the collective agreement is adjusted accordingly.