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Collective Agreement Negotiation

Workers at medical marijuana clinic in Toronto join union, believed to be first for such workers in Canada

Jurisdiction: - All
Sector: - Health Care

The workers at a medical marijuana clinic in Toronto, the Canna Clinic on Broadview Avenue, have voted to join Unifor, making them the first medical marijuana workers in Canada to unionize, according to an announcement today by the union.

Unifor states that 40 employees at the clinic are now members of the union and that they will now begin to negotiate a first collective agreement at the clinic. The staff includes reception, production and packaging and retail staff, as well as supervisors.

Canna has four other clinics in Toronto, as well as clinics in Vancouver. The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries estimated in 2016 that there were at least 350 medical marijuana dispensaries in Canada (see National Post Article, "Avalanche' of pot dispensaries popping up across Canada is leaving some cities without an answer", April 24, 2016).  read more »

SCC: Wal-Mart's decision to close recently unionized store in Quebec violated "statutory freeze" provisions

In United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v. Wal‑Mart Canada Corp. 2014 SCC 45, a 5/2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Wal-Mart's decision to close a recently unionized store in Jonquière, Quebec violated the "statutory freeze" provisions found in Section 59 of the Quebec Labour Code.

The case headnote is as follows:   read more »

US National Labor Relations Board: Northwestern U scholarship football players are employees, can unionize

Jurisdiction: - United States
Sector: - Education

The US National Labor Relations Board (N.L.R.B.) ruled today that Northwestern University scholarship football players are employees and therefore can unionize and bargain collectively. The ruling was contained in a 24-page decision issued by Peter Ohr, a
regional director of the N.L.R.B. 

The university has posted the following statement on its website in response to the ruling:

Statement by Alan K. Cubbage, Vice President for University Relations, in Regard to Decision by NLRB Regional Director

March 26, 2014 | by Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University is disappointed by today's ruling by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board finding that Northwestern University's football players who receive grant-in-aid scholarships are employees and directing that a secret ballot election be held to determine whether the football players should be represented by the College Athletes Players Association for purposes of collective bargaining with Northwestern University.  read more »

SCC rules that AB PIPA violates freedom of expression in the labour relations context; PIPA struck down

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA") violated section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and could not be saved under section 1 of the Charter.

Specifically, the Court stated:

37. PIPA imposes restrictions on a union's ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike.  In our view, this infringement of the right to freedom of expression is disproportionate to the government's objective of providing individuals with control over personal information that they expose by crossing a picketline.  read more »

FortisBC applies to BC Labour Relations Board to have certain work functions designated as essential

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Utilities

FortisBC has filed an application to have certain work functions designated as essential services under the BC Labour Relations Code.

This is the second BC utility to file such an application in the last few months. Back in April 2012, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia ("ICBC") - the province's "basic insurance" vehicle insurer - also filed an essential services application. More information about that application, including the application itself,  can be found on COPE 378's website here.

FortisBC's May 31, 2012 news release states as follows:  read more »

Court imposes $25,000 fine on Teamsters Local 31 for defiant picketing activities, with option to pay Food Bank

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Transportation

In Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. v. Teamsters Union, Local 31, 2012, BCSC 632 the BC Supreme Court imposed $25,000 fine on the union for its role picketing activities in contempt of a court order. The court gave the union the option of paying the funds to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

My previous post on this case can be found here: "Teamsters Local 31 in contempt of court for impeding traffic during Rocky Mountaineer labour dispute".

Teamsters Local 31 in contempt of court for impeding traffic during Rocky Mountaineer labour dispute

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

In Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31 2011 BCSC 1720, the court found that the Teamsters Local Union 31, through its officers, had deliberately disobeyed a previous court order (as it relates to not impeding traffic) and thus the union was in contempt of court.

This was the second time the union had been found to be in contempt of a court order during the Rocky Mountaineer labour dispute. The first time is detailed in this decision: Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31, 2011 BCSC 1149.

Federal Labour Minister Raitt urges Canada Post and CUPW to reach an agreement

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

Federal Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt, issued a media release today urging Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) to reach a renewal of their collective agreement.

As set out in the release:

  • The collective agreement covers a unit of approximately 50,000 postal workers;
  • The agreement expired on January 31, 2011;
  • Negotiations between Canada Post and CUPW - Urban Operations Unit started in October 2010; and
  • The parties will acquire the legal right to strike or lockout on May 25, 2011, at 12:01 a.m.