Having a collective agreement is one of the most important things you can have in a workplace.
It is essential to earning fair wages, safe working conditions and so many other key aspects of an employee’s job environment.
But one of the most important elements of the Collective Agreement is the grievance procedure.
Non-unionized workers all too often are unaware of their rights under the Labour Code or lack the financial ability to pursue workplace grievances on their own. This makes the grievance procedure one of the most powerful mechanisms for a unionized worker.
Knowing the employers often drag the process out – with the hopes of weakening the workers faith in their union. Information required to process a grievance through the steps will often be inaccurate, flow at an agonizingly slow pace and availability for the necessary meetings will often be strained.
The latest stall tactic we have experienced at Teamsters Local 362, is the employer making a conscious choice to not pay their portion of the arbitrator’s costs.
If the employer and the union are unable to reach a settlement to a grievance, the final step in the process is arbitration – something that is extremely costly. The majority of collective agreements, and the Labour Code, both state that the cost of the arbitrator be split equally by the parties.
When the employer refuses to pay, the arbitrator withholds the decision until they have been compensated. This only drags the process along further.
We are faced with a situation, that has been totally unheard of in the Labour Relations community, with very little avenues existing within the Labour Code to correct the behavior. There are only so many arbitrators available and if employers choose this tactic they will ruin their good standing with sitting arbitrators who will refuse, and rightfully so, to hear the case.
This leaves unions with no choice but to foot the entire costs and seek some form of decision from the Labour Board to stop this practice before the less than honest employers influence others to take up this latest shameful tactic.
This stalling tactic hurts workers who deserve to have their grievance heard. This new tactic must be stopped before it gains any further momentum or employers will have an easy way to not deal with the issues their workers are facing.
Teamsters Local 362 intends on aggressively reacting to any employer that would take part in such a tactic ad we encourage other Trade Unions to do the same.