Certification as a trade union has produced significant results for PEA members that would not have been achieved under “collegial” models.
Without certification, your employer can amend your terms of employment unilaterally. The employer doesn't have to consult or bargain with you. Where terms of employment are negotiated without a collective agreement, the employer may violate or unilaterally change the terms. An employer can even ignore or dismiss the dispute resolution provisions of a voluntary agreement.
In these cases, employees can only seek recourse and enforcement through long and expensive court action. If your employer has other bargaining units which are certified, those units have the advantage of additional rights under labour law and a stronger bargaining position with the employer, further disadvantaging non-unionized professionals.
Certification is empowering. Certification with any union gives employees rights they don't otherwise have. These examples are based on the BC Labour Relations Code. Similar provisions are found in other provincial codes and in the Canada Labour Code for federally regulated industries.
These are not notional advantages — they are real and substantial. But the onus to ensure that certification results in improved employment conditions remains chiefly on the members. Like any other union, the PEA is only as strong as its members — no union can be effective without members who are personally committed to common objectives. Many of these benefits are useless if members aren't involved in the work of the union and the union does not have the members' support.