Update: National Policy Grievance N00-10-00001

Update: National Policy Grievance N00-10-00001

On March 13, 2013, Arbitrator André Bergeron sustained a national policy grievance that was filed by the Union in respect of the status of the collective agreement during the period of May 30, 2011 to June 27, 2011. It was during that period that Canada Post discontinued benefits such as Dental Care, Extended Health Care Plan, Vision and Hearing, Life Insurance, Medical Coverage and contractual entitlements such as Sick leave, Maternity Benefits and Vacation leave before imposing its nationwide lock-out.

In his ruling, Arbitrator Bergeron observed that the back-to-work legislation crafted by the Conservative Government provided for the retroactive application of the collective agreement:

Bill C-6 (“An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services”) is in no way ambiguous and does not provide for any exception to the retroactivity of the collective agreement.

In keeping with Bill C-6, Arbitrator Bergeron held that the collective agreement was in effect during the period covered by the grievance. However, he accepted the import of previous federal court rulings that the retroactive application of a collective agreement should not lead to inequitable results:

However, the arbitrator will have to ensure that the enforcement of the provisions cited to support a grievance does not result in an absurd, inequitable or unreasonable situation or make illegal any action taken legally at the time during which the collective agreement was no longer in force.

Following the ruling, Canada Post refused to settle any of the 2,421 grievances that were filed and referred to arbitration in respect to the various benefits and entitlements that were denied during the period in question. The parties have since agreed to a process whereby Arbitrator Bergeron will determine whether the provisions raised by the Union’s grievances are enforceable, and if so, render a ruling on each of those issues. The hearings are now in progress, having commenced in Montreal on February 14, 18 and 21, 2014. Further updates will be provided as the hearings progress.

In Solidarity,

Ken Mooney - Regional Grievance Officer
February 28, 2014

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