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It's an organizational drive the union continues to explore, said Smith. Changing the law to eliminate the need for ratification votes after a majority of workers have signed union cards would make it easier to organize workplaces, said Smith. Even more helpful, said Smith, would be a ban on the use of "replacement workers," which he said tends to prolong strikes or lockouts. Smith also wants the government to adopt "first contract" legislation. First contract, or first-arbitration legislation, would impose a first contract if a one couldn't be reached through collective  bargaining, He said most  parts of Canada have had similar laws in place for years. Current Alberta laws, written and adopted by successive Conservative governments, reflect the "needs and interests employers much more than they did unions," Smith said. "I think they need to move fairly quickly on it," he said. "They're two years out from another election, these changes may take some time." Janet Lane with the Canada West Foundation says changing labour laws may present an opportunity for employers and unions to work together. (supplied) Evaluating and changing labour laws could present a new opportunity for employers facing a rapidly evolving work environment, said Janet Lane, director of the Centre for Human Capital Policy at the Canada West Foundation. "Unions and employers don't have to be in an adversarial relationship," said Lane.

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