There have been some developments in the EAW classification appeal as the parties – both the British Columbia General Employees’ Union (the Union) and the Employer (the Ministry represented by the Public Service Agency (PSA)) – prepare for a hearing this coming December 2022.
At a case management conference in January 2022, the Employer argued that the final and binding 2007 decision of Costa meant that the Union should be prevented from presenting any evidence about three factors that were the subject of that earlier decision. The Classification Referee agreed with this, ruling on February 4, 2022, that the parties should prepare submissions on the preliminary issue the Employer had raised. The decision is attached here.
As a result of that February decision, the parties prepared extensive submissions on the issue of significant and material changes to the EAW job since 2007. This relates to the Union’s onus to prove that the job has changed enough since 2007 to support changing the levels/ratings for the relevant three Costa factors at issue under the job evaluation plan. The Referee released her decision on May 10, 2022, attached here.
The main points to note in the decision are as follows:
- On the basis of the evidence provided, the Referee ruled that changes relating to Factor 5 (Work Assignments) and Factor 6 (Financial Responsibility) have not been significant or material enough to indicate that the current ratings would change, and therefore the Union will not be able to lead evidence about these two factors in December. She has, however, stated that “should new evidence come to light in the scheduled 2022 main hearing concerning other factors under dispute that give rise to justifying significant change has occurred which potentially has an impact on Factors 5 and 6, I reserve jurisdiction to re-open these two factors to further consideration.”
- The Referee noted in relation to Factor 11 (Physical Effort) that there did appear to have been some changes in working conditions, and as a result the Union will be able to present additional information on the merits of this factor. We will still have the onus at the December hearing to prove that changes in EAW work have been significant and material enough to change the ratings for each factor we are disputing, including Factor 11, but we will now be able to present evidence about this factor. This will relate to the physical effort EAWs expend when “focussing visual attention” (concentrating) on screens over 70% of the time to the exclusion of other activities such as listening attentively to clients.
The parties have been discussing preparation for the December hearing. In order to narrow the issues and ensure that the best evidence will be admissible, we have begun to work on joint documents and statements of facts both sides can agree on, though both sides reserve the right to introduce evidence that the other may dispute. We have also agreed that up to three witnesses per side will be able to present evidence at the hearing. Following the hearing, each side will prepare final written arguments early in 2023.
At this point, we continue to work closely with the EAW Working Group who remain involved in discussions about the appeal, and in confirming all written materials as the appeal moves forward.
We will keep you posted regarding developments.
Note - contact information for those retiring or leaving the EAW job:
Please keep the union up to date with your current contact information, particularly your personal email address which we will use to contact you should you leave the EAW position.
Frequently asked questions
As provided in earlier bulletins, there is a Public Service Classification Appeals Information FAQs - Appeal Evaluation Issues for those interested in details of the job evaluation process and timelines, and to answer some of the questions and issues raised during our worksite visits.
Judy Fox-McGuire - Component 6 Vice-President
Jennifer Jordan - Staff Representative, Negotiations
Download PDF of notice here
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