LRB gives more opportunities to employees facing job loss

The Labour Relations Board has ruled that displaced employees have broader rights than health employers have tried to impose under the Campbell Liberals’ Bill 29.

The Board’s decision sets out a series of directions that, in its words, provide a “fair, reasonable and balanced opportunity for employees facing job loss,” within the confines of Bill 29.

The Board’s ruling comes after HEU and other unions applied to provide a broader protection zone to workers facing displacement.

Decision in Brief

  • Displaced workers can now use their seniority over an expanded pool of jobs.
  • Expanded options for displaced workers include more bumping options for senior workers, access to more unfilled vacancies, access to more casual work and broader recall rights.
  • The majority of HEU members are covered by this decision. Employer objections have prevented all HEU members from being covered.
  • The new options are effective June 28, 2002, with some retroactivity before that date.
  • Seniority rights for all other purposes are not affected.
  • There will be 12 expanded protections zones in the Province and a dovetailed seniority list for all covered workers in the Facilities Subsector, including members of HEU, BCGEU, and IUOE for each of these zones.

  • “The Board’s decision is a setback for health employers, who were dumping skilled and experienced workers on the street,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “There are some problems with the decision, but displaced workers now have more options than health employers were providing.”

    Questions and answers

    Q. What do displaced workers get? A. Displaced workers can now use their seniority over an expanded pool of jobs.

    • Workers with over 5 years seniority now have bumping options throughout their expanded protection zone, rather than at their worksite only. They take their seniority with them.
    • Workers receiving lay-off notices may take an unfilled vacancy, including a promotion, throughout their expanded protection zone, rather than at their worksite only. They take their seniority with them.
    • Workers receiving lay-off notice may opt to be placed on a casual list at any worksite within 50 kilometers, rather than at their worksite only. They take their seniority with them.
    • Workers have a right of recall to a job throughout their expanded protection zone, rather than at their worksite only.
    Q. What do transferred workers get?

    A. Workers transferred by their employer with a service get to take their seniority with them.

    Q. Who is affected?

    A. Facilities Subsector workers who are direct employees of the five regional health authorities. The detailed list of worksites affected is set out in the full Board decision at www.heu.org.

    Q. Who is not affected?

    A. The union wants to have all HEU members in the health sector to have expanded rights for displaced workers. Unfortunately, employers have used various legal arrangements to bar the expanded rights for all workers. HEU will continue to push for universal coverage.

    Workers at the Provincial Health Services Authority (Women’s and Children’s, Cancer Agency, Canadian Blood Services), at private long-term care facilities and denominational facilities and workers in the Community Subsector are currently excluded because of employer challenges.

    Q. What is the effective date?

    A. The effective date is June 28, 2002, but workers actually laid off before this date will have the opportunity to exercise their seniority under the decision.

    Q. Does this mean province-wide seniority?

    A. No. The Province is split into 12 expanded protection zones (the list is attached). For each of these zones, a merged seniority list will be created to give displaced workers more options.

    Q. Can I be bumped by someone from another facility, or town, or from another union?

    A. No — if you have more than five years’ (9,360 hours) seniority. Yes — if you have less than five years’ (9,360 hours) seniority. (The other unions are only those in the Facilities Subsector and do not include BCNU and HSA members.)

    Q. What about workplace seniority?

    A. Workers who do not face displacement continue to be covered by workplace seniority. For example, first access to internal vacancies is unaffected by this decision. Casual call-in is still on a workplace, not a regional, basis.

    Q. What about postings?

    A. The current Facilities Agreement provides for “Regional Postings,” although health employers are challenging this provision in another Labour Board hearing.

    The Board’s decision builds on existing rights by making it clear that displaced workers have priority access to vacancies that are unfilled internally, prior to external hires.

    Q. What’s next?

    A. Employers must develop the merged seniority lists in order to offer displaced workers all their options.

    Some important details still need to be discussed, including pressing the four health authorities that have been sub-divided to broaden access to unfilled vacancies.

    HEU will provide further updates. Following are the Labour Relations Board’s nine directions on the issue. A copy of the full Board’s decision is available on our website at www.heu.org/seniority.pdf.

    What the Labour Relations Board said (excerpts from the ruling)

    Directions

    The Board set out the following nine directions to implement the decision:

    1. Definitions “Health Authority” means each of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (“VCHA”), Fraser Health Authority (“FHA”), Interior Health Authority (“IHA”), Vancouver Island Health Authority (“VIHA”), and Northern Health Authority (“NHA”).

    “Dovetailed seniority list” means a single, dovetailed seniority list for each bargaining unit represented by an Association for each area identified in [this decision]

    1. Vancouver Coastal Authority; 2. South Vancouver Island Health Service Delivery Area; 3. Central and North Vancouver Island Health Service Delivery Areas; 4. Simon Fraser and South Fraser Health Service Delivery Areas; 5. Fraser Valley Health Service Delivery Area; 6. East Kootenay Health Service Delivery Area; 7. Kootenay/Boundary Health Service Delivery Area; 8. Okanagan Health Service Delivery Area; 9. Thompson/Cariboo Health Service Delivery Area; 10. North East Health Service Delivery Area; 11. Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area; 12. North West Health Service Delivery Area.

    “Worksite” means the same as worksite defined in the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act. The complement of worksites for each area identified in the decision is as proposed by HEABC subject to the comments in the decision about the worksites located in Duncan, B.C. The list is annexed to this decision.

    “Unfilled vacancy” means a vacancy for which there is no successful candidate when the vacancy was originally posted.

    “Comparable” means the same as comparable as defined in the Health Sector Labour Adjustment Regulation.

    2. Seniority Lists

    Each Health Authority shall create a dovetailed seniority list for each bargaining unit for each area identified in the decision. The dovetailed seniority list shall be used only for the purpose of enabling displaced employees to preserve employment through bumping in accordance with the Regulation, filling unfilled vacancies, placement on the casual call-in list and recall in accordance with these directions.

    3. Accommodation of Seniority

    Collective agreements shall accommodate an employee’s transfer of seniority from one owned and operated worksite of a Health Authority to another owned and operated worksite of the same Health Authority in the following circumstances:

    (a) when an employee is transferred according to Section 4 of the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act [employer transfer of service];

    (b) when a displaced employee moves to a vacancy at another worksite in accordance with these directions;

    (c) when a displaced employee bumps to another worksite in accordance with these directions; and

    (d) when a displaced employee joins a casual list at another worksite in accordance with these directions.

    4. Bumping Options (Employees over 5 years Seniority)

    The bumping options for displaced employees with more than 5 years of seniority are as follows:

    Each Health Authority shall provide to all employees receiving a lay-off notice with more than 5 years seniority a list of all positions from the dovetailed seniority list occupied by employees with fewer than 5 years seniority and the displaced employee must advise the Health Authority:

    A. within 48 hours of receiving the list whether he or she intends to bump an employee at the same worksite occupying a position in a classification that entails performing duties the bumping employee is qualified to perform and capable of performing; or

    B. within 7 days of receiving the list whether he or she intends to bump an employee at a different worksite occupying a position in a classification that entails performing duties the bumping employee is qualified to perform and capable of performing.

    5. Bumping Options (Employees under 5 years Seniority)

    The bumping options for displaced employees with less than 5 years seniority are as follows:

    Each Health Authority shall provide to all employees receiving a lay-off notice with less than 5 years seniority, a list of all positions from the dovetailed seniority list occupied by employees with fewer than 5 years seniority and the displaced employee must advise the Health Authority of his or her intention to bump the most junior employee whose hours of work are comparable and who occupies a position in a classification that entails performing duties the bumping employee is qualified to perform and capable of performing

    A. within 48 hour so receiving the list of the most junior employee is at the same worksite;

    or B. within 7 days of receiving the list if the most junior employee is at another worksite.

    6. Unfilled Vacancies

    Employees receiving lay-off notices may take an unfilled vacancy at the employee’s worksite or another worksite within the areas described in [this] decision for which a dovetailed seniority list has been created, that entails the performing of duties for which the displaced employee is qualified to perform and capable of performing. Unfilled vacancies which a displaced employee may take may include vacancies which will result in the promotion of the displaced employee.

    7. Layoff

    Employees receiving lay-off notices may choose to accept lay-off in lieu of bumping or taking an unfilled vacancy and also have their name placed on a casual list at any worksite within the displaced employee’s geographic location [an area within a radius of 50 kilometers of the worksite at or from which an employee ordinarily works] or within any other area constituting a reasonable commuting distance as may be agreed to by the respective Health Authorities.

    8. Recall

    A laid-off employee shall be offered re-employment to any position within the area covered by the dovetailed seniority list in a classification that entails performing duties the recalled employee is qualified to perform and is capable of performing. No laid-off employee shall lose his or her lay-off status or the right to further offers of re-employment if the employee refuses a recall except where the laid-off employee refuses a recall to a comparable position within the employee’s geographic location [an area within a radius of 50 kilometers of the worksite at or from which an employee ordinarily works] the duties of which the employee is qualified to perform and is capable of performing.

    9. Additional Employment Opportunities

    The four Health Authorities whose dovetailed seniority lists are less than authority-wide may nonetheless choose to offer unfilled vacancies to displaced employees on an authority-wide basis. The principles regarding the transfer and utilization of seniority shall then apply to such offers.