Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LRB orders employer to provide information to the union

In  Port Transport Inc and CAW, a decision issued by the LRB on March 23, 2011 Vice Chair Topalian declared that Port Transport Inc had committed an unfair labour practice by refusing to provide the union with the following information:
a)  a current contact list containing the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of all members of the bargaining unit,
b) specific information on each bargaining unit member including name, date of birth, benefit coverage (single,family, enrolled, not eligible, etc.), wage rate(s), premium(s),job classification(s) and any other form of remuneration including but not limited to vacation entitlement, and any profit-sharing, incentive or bonus plans in effect, and
c)actual data on usage and cost on all areas of any benefit plan for the past three (3) years.

The employer argued that it was not obliged to provide this information without the written consent of each affected employee.   The union argued that it required the information in order to engage in rational discussions at collective bargaining and to properly cost out its proposal in relation to wage rates, premiums and benefits.  It also said that it required the information to be able to communicate with the members of the bargaining unit and discharge its obligations under the Labour Code.  The employer had not provided any sound business concerns for not disclosing the information requested. 

Vice Chair Topalian reviewed the Board's jurisprudence in P.Sun's Enterprises B301/2003 and in The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay, (my favourite case name of all time!) B226/2004, and ordered the employer to provide the information. 

This is a very good decision that unions should take note of and apply as they prepare for collective bargaining.


STrimble said...

I have asked for this information citing our access to information clause in our CA and the emplyer refused. Does this request have to be linked with specific union business, such as it was in this ruling? It seems section 6 applied because they were planning on using the information for planning bargaining objectives.

Unknown said...

Of course, if the request is related to collective bargaining, you can argue that your situation is on all fours with this decision.
Nevertheless the principle is not limited to requesting information only for collective bargaining purposes. The decision in P.Sun's Enterprises explains the test very well and I encourage you to read that decision.