Chavez and Teamsters Local 155 v. BC Council and Warner Bros. and Veidt Enterprises [2009] No. 59271 (BC Labour Relations Board)

A Teamster member (Chavez) filed a duty of fair representation complaint against the Council for reversing its earlier decision to proceed to arbitration with his termination grievance.  As preliminary matters, the Board found that neither the Teamsters local nor Warner Bros. had standing to be included as parties in the complaint.  The Teamsters did not have standing because they were a part of the Council and could not therefore bring a complaint against the Council.  Warner Bros. did not have standing because it was not the employer (Veidt Enterprises was the employer).  On the merits, the Board found that the Council had breached its duty of fair representation by acting in an arbitrary matter; in particular, the Council ought to have given Chavez an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him before reversing its decision to proceed to arbitration.  Once obtaining Chavez’s response, the Council would have been entitled to take into account other considerations and decide whether pursuing the grievance to arbitration would have been the appropriate course of action.  In this respect, the Council would have been entitled to consider the impact of article 10.05 of the collective agreement, which limits the guaranteed length of employment to daily or weekly periods (see

analysis of Sullivan Award finding that article 10.05 does not require employers to show just cause, starting at p. 10).  In light of the Sullivan award, the Board declined to refer the matter to arbitration, preferring instead to request further submissions from the parties regarding what, if any further remedy, would be appropriate in the circumstances.

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English (Canada)