Shelbourne local defeats decertification bid

LRB says partial decertification exception to rule

All 164 HEU members of the Shelbourne local in Victoria are still in the union, thanks to a Labour Relations Board decision handed down on Oct. 10, 2001.

The local is made up of workers from three separate sites owned and operated by Lifestyles Retirement Communities Ltd.: Kensington, Parkwood Care and Parkwood Retirement. All three facilities provide residences and services to retired persons. Except for registered nurses at Parkwood Care, the same classifications are used at all three sites.

The LRB ruling concerned a decertification application that was filed close on the heels of a 70 per cent strike vote. The application was made only for only one of the sites — Parkwood Retirement.

LRB vice chair Ken Saunders disallowed the decertification bid, saying that there would be a real and significant impact on remaining employees if Parkwood Retirement were to be removed from the unit. It would reduce the opportunities for employee mobility and limit opportunities to exercise seniority-related entitlements under the collective agreement.

HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt said it would have had serious implications for the remaining members had the Parkwood Retirement decertification gone forward.

“Because the sites are so closely related, several employees exercise entitlements to claim work at both Parkwood Retirement and Parkwood Care. Bumping rights, as well as posting and selection entitlements between the two sites, would have ended,” he said.

“Partial decertification is not available 'on demand',” Saunders told the decertification applicants in his decision. It is the exception rather than the rule that governs the termination of collective bargaining rights, he said.