SUDBURY -- The Ontario Labour Relations Board has denied an effort by a Sudbury man to decertify the union representing workers at a local mining supply company because he didn't have the support of dozens of laid off workers.

At issue in the case was how many people were in the bargaining unit, currently represented by Mine Mill Local 598.

The man applied to decertify the union June 22, under a section of the Ontario Labour Relations Act that details how the process must work.

"If the board determines that 40 per cent or more of the employees in the bargaining unit appear to have expressed a wish not to be represented by the trade union at the time the application was filed, the board shall direct that a representation vote be taken among the employees in the bargaining unit," the Act says.

In this case, the man said he had the support of more than half of unionized workers.

"The applicant estimates that there are 22 employees in the bargaining unit and has filed evidence of 13 employees who wish not to be represented by the responding party," the transcript of the case says. "If the applicant’s estimate of the size of the bargaining unit is used, the applicant has demonstrated sufficient support to obtain a vote under the Act."

However, the union countered the size of the bargaining unit has to include 64 employees who were laid off in May and another 16 who were let go in June.

In his decision, the vice-chair of the Labour Relations Board ruled that, under the Act, the laid off workers were still members of the "bargaining unit."

"It appears clear that laid off and terminated individuals are considered 'employees in a bargaining unit,'" he wrote. "The board would not countenance an argument from a trade union that it had no obligation to represent laid-off employees or discharged employees on the basis that, by virtue of their layoff or termination, they were no longer 'employees in a bargaining unit.'

"The obligation of their trade unions to represent them does not cease merely because of the layoff or termination. It seems consistent with the scheme of the Act that those persons who continue to rely on collective agreement rights and on the trade union to represent them be counted as employees in the bargaining unit."

As a result, the man seeking to decertify the union did not have enough support to continue with the process.

"This application is therefore dismissed because the applicant has not met the 40 per cent threshold required by… the Act."

Read the full transcript here.