IATSE, Local 822 v. ED Mirvish Enterprises Ltd. (Toronto, ON) 2011

The Union grieved that wardrobe, make-up and hair styling employees were entitled to additional pay when a stage performance was extended an additional 40 minutes beyond the normal 3.5-hour performance call due to an unexpected power failure in the middle of the performance. During the 40 minutes of the power failure, the employees were instructed by the Employer to remain in the building, on “stand by” while the Employer investigated the problem. The Union argued that the affected employees were entitled to be paid for the time worked beyond 3.5-hour performance call resulting from the power failure (rounded to the next hour pursuant to the Collective Agreement). The Employer argued that there was no work done during the 40-minute power failure so employees should not be paid for that time. The Employer further argued that the 40 minutes of work performed beyond the normal 3.5-hour performance call’s end was merely a fulfillment of each employee’s normal 3.5-hour performance call obligation, which was short 40 minutes because of the power failure. Arbitrator McDowell found that the time employees remained in the workplace during the power failure was “work” and that they were entitled to be paid for time worked beyond the normal 3.5-hour performance call. The Arbitrator also concluded that there was no language in the Collective Agreement between the parties that would relieve the Employer of its obligation to pay employees for working time that is idle due to events outside the Employer’s control.

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