The Verdict Is In! 11/04/08


The Verdict Is In!


VMPP Parcel Hub Extended Hours Grievance Resolved $13,000.00

During the period of July 2006 to Oct 2006, a dispute between the part-time PO4 employees in the Parcel Hub and the Canada Post Supervisory staff at the VMPP arose because extended hours were not being offered to the Parcel Hub part-timers on an equitable basis, as per the Collective Agreement.   Since these employees were available to work the extension of hours, a grievance was filed alleging an extension of hours bypass.  On September 2, 2008 Canada Post agreed to resolve the grievance by compensating the affected employees for the missed extension of hour’s opportunities.  As a result, fifteen employees will be sharing a settlement of $13,000.00.  If you are bypassed, you are entitled to be paid for the amount you would have received if you had worked the extension of hours.  And, management knows this . . .


Emergency Suspension Issued To PO4 for Invoking His Right to Refuse

A PO4 who works on the A/O belt at the VPDC found himself on the receiving end of an emergency suspension late last year.  On November 15, 2007, the grievor was working on the west side of the A/O belt when a Canada Post Supervisor approached him with a “binnie” and asked him to pick up the AO’s from the floor and put them into the binnie.  The grievor attempted to inform the Supervisor that the work he was being directed to do was a safety hazard for him, and that he was invoking his right to refuse unsafe work.  The Supervisor answered this refusal to do unsafe work with an Emergency suspension, a grievance was filed.

At an arbitration hearing on September 17, 2008, Arbitrator McPhillips found that the grievor had established that he honestly believed that his physical well being might have been endangered had he attempted to bend and lift all the parcels off the floor.  He also found that the Grievor’s reasons were not frivolous and dishonest which is what is required under Article 33.13 (e).  The Arbitrator also determined that the Corporation did not comply with the requirements of Article 33.13 (d) that it “ensure that the necessary investigation, inspections and analyses of the situation giving rise to the refusal t work are conducted.”

Arbitrator McPhillips states, “the right to refuse unsafe work is a critical one and Article 33.13 of this Collective Agreement strongly supports that proposition.  It is incumbent upon a supervisor to ensure that there are absolutely no concerns before insisting an employee perform the work.

Accordingly, Arbitrator McPhillips sustained the Union’s grievance, and this member will be compensated for the 6 ½ hours of his suspension and all references to this incident should be removed from his file.


South Burnaby Overtime Bypass Resolved

During the month of December 2006, part time letter carriers from South Burnaby were skipped for overtime when Canada Post forced compulsory overtime. This Scrooge approach did not deter one of the part timers from filing a grievance.  On September 11, 2008, Canada Post agreed to compensate the identified employees in the amount of $990.00.

Business Edge A Little Over the Edge

Canada Post attempted to slip the monthly mailing of the Business Edge by the letter carriers in the Vancouver Local, hoping that no one would notice that its dimensions did not conform to Chart B in Appendix D.  An astute inside assistant at Station F notified the Union Hall, along with other carriers throughout the local, and a grievance was filed.  The parties agreed on September 9, 2008 that all employees who were required to deliver the Business Edge on their routes would be compensated at eight cents per piece, instead of the three (3) cents that they tried to edge by our members.


Special Leave Grievance Settled

On July 15, 2007 a PO4 working on graveyard shift at the VMPP was informed that her husband had been admitted into hospital requiring potential life threatening emergency surgery.  She notified her supervisor that she would be required to administer medical assistance to her husband at home for the period of July 18 and July 19, 2007.  Canada Post believed that due to an ongoing medical concern, she would only receive one of the two days requested, so this member filed a grievance.  This case was scheduled for Arbitration on September 17, 2008, however, the Union was successful in convincing management to grant the second day of special leave as requested, so the file was settled on that basis.  Article 21 - Special Leave - has not changed under the new Collective Agreement.  It states:

Where conditions warrant it, special leave with pay may be granted where circumstances not directly attributable to the employee, including but not limited to illness in the immediate family, prevent his or her reporting for duty.  Such leave shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Although management does not like to offer or grant special leave, we have the right to apply for it when for reasons beyond our control, we are unable to come to work.  If you have any questions or concerns about special leave, speak to your shop steward.


One Day Suspension for Being Eight Minutes Late

On December 3, 2007 a wicket clerk received a letter informing her that she would be receiving a one day suspension without pay for allegedly overextending her coffee break.  The suspension was grieved, and heard at arbitration on October 6, 2008.

At the arbitration hearing, the Union successfully argued that the grievor genuinely thought that she had returned from her break in time.  Arbitrator Blasina weighed the evidence presented and applied the principles of William Scott in coming to his decision. In his award of October 22, 2008, Arbitrator Blasina ruled that the one day suspension was excessive, and the grievor was to be made whole for her lost wages. In imposing discipline on our members, Canada Post bears the burden of establishing to an Arbitrator that the discipline is warranted.  Often, Canada Post operates on the assumptions that later on down the road fail to stand up to close scrutiny.