THE ROYAL AND MCPHERSON THEATRES SOCIETY (the “Employer”) v. I.A.T.S.E., Local No. 168 (IATSE) (B.C.L.R.B.) November 29, 2011

In this decision the BCRLB considered whether to hear an unfair labour practice complaint regarding the disciplining of IATSE executive members despite the Board’s usual policy of declining to hear those matters and deferring to arbitration. 

The incident arose after the Employer sought to unilaterally implement a change in the callout procedure separating set-up, run and strike of a production which was proposed and rejected at collective bargaining.  At that time, IATSE asserted that the company had to maintain its current practice in accordance with its interpretation of the Collective Agreement and past practice.  When the company sent out a call for labour which split the various aspects of the production, IATSE dispatched workers in accordance with the past practice.  The Employer advised the Union that it would issue disciplinary reprimands to each member of the Union executive.  As a result, IATSE filed an unfair labour practice complaint against the Employer alleging inter alia that the Employer was seeking to interfere with its administration.

The Board held that its normal policy is to defer to the grievance arbitration procedure for the resolution of disputes arising under a collective agreement.  The exceptions to the policy include instances where an arbitrator is not capable of providing an adequate remedy; the issue is not a matter normally the subject at arbitration, the contract interpretation is intertwined with the law and policy of the Labour Code or the issue is necessarily incidental to the disposition of a matter already before the Board.  In the result, the Board declined to hear the unfair labour practice complaint and deferred the issue to be dealt with at arbitration.  In so doing, the Board concluded that the fact that it would take more time to arbitrate the issue did not engage an exception to the Board’s policy.

For Full Decision Click Here

English (Canada)