Complaints against employers

AuthorChristopher Rootham
 
is chapter is about complaints agai nst the employer brought pursuant to sec-
tion  of the Public Service Labour Rel ations Act. Section  requires t he Public
Service Labou r Relations Board to examine and inqu ire into any complaint made
to it that the employer has failed to bargain in good faith, failed to observe cer-
tain terms and conditions during a statutory freeze, committed an unfair labour
practice, or faile d to implement a collective agreement or arbit ral award. As the
requirements of the duty to bargain i n good faith have already been addressed in
detail, th is chapter will focus on the other t hree requirements, a breach of which
may result in a complaint under sec tion  of the PSLRA.
A statutory freeze refers to provisions of the PSLRA (lik e other labour relations
statutes) that continues the ter ms and conditions of employment applicable to
employees subject to the statutory f reeze. ere are four freeze periods under t he
. During cert ication. e statutor y freeze is in place f rom the date the
employer is notied of a n application for certicat ion until the applica-
tion is withd rawn, or thirty d ays from the date on which the Boa rd cer-
ties an employee organi zation as the bargaining agent for the unit .
Public Serv ice Labour Relations Act , S.C. , c. , s.  [PSLRA].
 See Chapter .See Chapter .
PSLRA, above note , s. . s. .
234           
. During bargaining. e statutor y freeze is in place a er notice to bar-
gain is given (by either pa rty) until a collec tive agreement is entered
into, or an arbitral awa rd is rendered, or a legal strike ca n be declared or
authorize d.
. When the bargaining agent is in a lega l strike position, for essential ser-
vices employees only. e statutory free ze for essential services employ-
ees in place during a st rike lasts until a collective ag reement is entered
. Aer a conversion, if a bargaini ng agent had served notice to bargai n
prior to the conversion, then the second statutor y freeze remains i n ef-
fect for at least  days.
e fourth freez e (involving successor rig hts situations) may not be a com-
plete freeze. Sec tion  of the PSLRA continues the statutor y freeze for  days,
or, if an application to change the barga ining units or bargaini ng agents is made,
until the date t he Board completes that appl ication. Section  of t he PSLRA
states that a notice to barga in that was given prior to t he conversion does not
bind the new separate agency, and that “a new notice may be given on ly in the cir-
cumstances de scribed in para graph (b).” Paragraph (b) only applies “if the
Board makes by determinat ion under paragraph (a)” that new bargaining unit s
are necessar y. erefore, if the employer does not make an applicat ion for new
successor rights (that is, new barga ining units), section  of the PSLRA cou ld be
read as preventing the bargai ning agent from ling a new notice to bargai n, thus
also preventing it from trig gering a new freeze per iod. e better view is t hat
section () — giving the bargaini ng agent the right to le a notice to bargain
when no collective agreement is i n eect — applies from  days aer the con-
version (if no successor rights applicat ion has been led), therefore permitt ing
the bargaini ng agent to serve a new notice to bargai n and re-start t he statutory
freeze period. However, section  could ac tually be a way to force barga ining
agents to le successor rights applications in order to ensure that they have the
right to serve a new notice to ba rgain at the end of such applications. e Board
has not yet been faced with such a problem bec ause, as stated in Chapter Five, the
new employer has always brought a successor rig hts application aer a conver-
sion in order to consolidate bargain ing units.
e statutory freeze i n the PSLRA is ver y simila r to the various statutor y
freezes that ex ist in private sector labour relations legi slation. e purpose of the
freeze was expl ained by the Federal Court of Appea l as follows:
Ibid., s. .
Ibid., s. .
Ibid., s. .

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