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Collective Agreement Negotiation

BC Nurses Union Reaches Tentative Agreement

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

The BC Nurses Union and the Nurses' Bargaining Association have reached a tentative agreement with the Ministry of Health Services, health authorities and HEABC to extend the current Provincial Collective Agreement for an additional 24 months. The BCNU has scheduled a ratification vote for April 8, 2009.

You can read more about the tentative agreement here.

Food and beverage workers at GM Place vote 83% in favour of a strike

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The Vancouver Sun reported today that close to 750 food and beverage workers at GM Place voted 83% in favour of a strike last weekend.

The employees are represented by Unite Here Local 40. The employer is Aramark Sports and Entertainment. The collective agreement expired in December 2008.

You can read the full article here.

"Intensive Collective Bargaining Workshop" to be held in Whistler

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Vancouver based company, pre-think Inc., in co-operation with the Business Council of BC will be conducting a four day Intensive Collective Bargaining Workshop in Whistler from May 31 to June 3, 2009. The principals of pre-think Inc. are Gary Moser and Neil Patton.

The conference is being held at the Delta Whistler Village Suites in Whistler. The cost is $2,995 plus GST (hotel, all meals and materials), with an early bird special available until April 3, 2009.

Who should attend? The advetisments say chief negotiators, HR/LR professionals, managers and anyone in collective bargaining.

BC Maritime Employers Association and Int'l Longshoremen and Warehouse Union Local 514 ratify collective agreement

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal
Sector: - Transportation

The BC Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union Local 514 have ratified a new collective agreement, according to a story in today's Globe and Mail.

The dispute involved 450 ship and dock foremen who had been without a contract since March 2007. Local 514 had set a strike date of January 2, 2009, but had stayed on the job as negotiations continued.

The agreement was reached on February 13, 2009 with the assistance of two conciliation officers appointed from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service pursuant to section 72 of the Canada Labour Code.

The Union held its ratification vote on February 24, 2009 and accepted mail-in ballots until March 5, 2009.  read more »

"Recession: Is it Time to Reconsider Your Collective Agreement?"

John-Edward Hyde, a lawyer at Blaney McMurtry LLP, has written an article titled, "Recession: Is it Time to Reconsider Your Collective Agreement?"

The article was originally published in Employment Notes (February 2009). which is a publication of the Labour and Employment Law Group of Blaney McMurtury.

BC Court of Appeal hands down decision in "political protests" case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In a decision handed down on February 4, 2009 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Assn., 2009 BCCA 39 - the BC Court of Appeal ruled that the political protests/work stoppages conducted by members of the BC Teachers Federation and the Hospital Employees Union in 2002 were "strikes" in contravention of the BC Labour Relations Code.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal ruled that while the definition of "strike" in section 1 of the BC Labour Relations Code infringes the freedom of expression guarantees in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the infringment is justified under Section 1 of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal further ruled that the defnition of "strike" does not infringe Section 2(c) or Section 2(d) of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal's decision upholds - in the result - previous decisions of the BC Labour Relations Board and the BC Supreme Court (2007 BCSC 372).

Union construction sector in BC develops first ever drug & alcohol policy for construction worksites

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Construction

The Construction Labour Relations Association and the Bargaining Council of British
Columbia Building Trades Unions announced today that they have jointly developed a Substance Abuse Testing And Treatment Policy as part of their collective agreement negotiations.

The policy will apply to all union construction workers in BC; it is believed to be the only such industry-wide agreement in Canada.

According to the news release, under the policy:  read more »

BC Bargaining Database comes online

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Government announced the launching of the BC Bargaining Database today.

The database contains statistical information of interest to the labour community, including the following:

  • Monthly & Quarterly reports on wage settlements reports, work stoppages, and the status of negotiations throughout the province.
  • Annual reports will include a calendar of expiring agreements, wage settlement reports, duration of agreements reports, and status of negotiations throughout the province reports.
  • Statistical information will be based on the settlements and work stoppages reported to the BC Bargaining database, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board, and the Business Council of British Columbia.

Parties who submit their collective agreements to the database will satisfy section 51 of the BC Labour Relations Code, which requires that agreements be filed with the Board within 30 days of their execution.  read more »

Supreme Court of Canada rules that freedom of association protection in Charter applies to collective bargaining

Sector: - Health Care

In Health Services and Support - Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v.British Columbia, 2007 SCC 27, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned previous case law and ruled that a "limited right" of collective bargaining is protected by section 2(d) (freedom of association) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a landmark decision.

Law firm Heenan Blaikie has published this case summary: "Supreme Court of Canada rules that collective bargaining is protected by freedom of association in Charter" (June 8, 2007).

Postscript: This is a case summary by law firm Emond Harnden: "Supreme Court of Canada extends Charter protection to collective bargaining" (July 2007).

"Top Tips for Better Bargaining"

"Top Tips for Better Bargaining" (March 11, 2005) is the title of a paper prepared by three lawyers at  McCarthy Tétrault LLP. The lawyers are Maureen S. Boyd, Rachel Ravary and  Robb A. Macpherson.