In a decision dated November 15, 2021, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (the “Board”) dismissed a duty of fair referral application filed by Doug Flowers (the “Applicant”) alleging that IATSE Local 873 (the “Union”) had breached s. 75 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “Act”).
The Applicant was a member of the Union’s craft service department and wanted to be transferred to the transportation department so he could be dispatched to transportation jobs. The Union refused to grant the Applicant’s request and the Applicant asserted in the application that the Union’s reasons in refusing his request violated section 75 of the Act because there were individuals in the transportation department who did not have the qualifications the Union had told the Applicant he needed in order to transfer.
In its decision, the Board agreed with the Union that the Applicant did not meet the requirements in the collective agreement for being included in the transportation department and did not fall into one of the three exceptions since he was not a legacy member, did not suffer from a disability requiring accommodation and was not a member of a rival union. However, the Board held that it could not find that the decision of the Union not to allow the Applicant to join the transportation department was reasonable since there were between two and four individuals who did not meet the requirement and did not fall within one of the three exceptions. The Union could therefore not reasonably deny the Applicant’s request without first finding out why the other individuals were included.
Notwithstanding this, the Board dismissed the application on the basis that the Applicant had not identified any specific work opportunities he had been deprived of as a result of the Union’s conduct and, at its core, the application concerned a challenge of internal Union rules and bylaws and reviewing these was outside the role of the Board.