I'm writing about the recent arbitration outcome of our union's grievance against the BCLDB's productivity monitoring policy.
As you know, the BCLDB has a productivity monitoring policy at the Delta Distribution Centre to which they issued discipline against multiple workers for incurring downtime between picks, after the start of shift, and before and after breaks. Our union challenged the policy with a grievance, which went to arbitration.
After evaluating the policy, the arbitrator found that the BCLDB had breached KVP – a 1975 labour law case that identified a set of criteria that employer policies must meet to be enforceable with discipline – and privacy legislation (specifically, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
This means that discipline issued by the employer, up to the point when the employer proves that breaches have been remedied, was founded on unlawfully obtained evidence. Our union will be using this decision as the basis to argue that all discipline by the employer around this policy to date be rescinded and all grievers made whole.
In addition to finding breaches in the policy, the arbitrator instructed the employer to find a remedy to the breaches in cooperation and consultation with our union. Despite this instruction, the employer unilaterally proceeded with their version of a remedy – which is a violation of the arbitrator's direction.
At our August 25th Article 29 meeting with the employer, our union noted this violation and expressed disappointment about the employer's unilateral behaviour. The employer has since agreed to meet and work with our union, as per the arbitrator's direction.
I understand that this policy continues to cause much anxiety and stress for BCGEU members at the Delta Distribution Centre. Unfortunately, arbitrators do not instruct employers on how to run their business – they can only evaluate, identify breaches, and instruct the employer to remedy the breaches. They do not dictate policy going forward.
But your rights and well-being must be upheld. And that's why the union continues to act as a watchdog of the employer's policies. Our union will be demanding proof that the breaches are fixed, engage in discussion about what the policy will be going forward, and ensure it's done legally and according to KVP criteria.
As we move forward, I encourage you to do the following:
- Raise your questions and concerns with your stewards, OHS reps, local chairs and local area office staff.
- Follow the policy – take no more than three minutes per pick.
- Notify your steward and local area office staff if the employer issues discipline against you.
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