Unfair Labour Practices Grievance

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» September 27, 2012

Settled: The Unfair Labour Practices Grievance

Your Kwantlen Faculty Association is pleased to announce that the Unfair Labour Practices grievance has been settled!


December, 2009

On December 1, 2009, on the same day that notice to bargain a new Collective Agreement had been deemed to be given, the then-Chair of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Board of Governors, Scott Nicol, wrote a letter to the KFA stating that Senate decisions could override provisions of the Collective Agreement—a position to which the KFA was and remains strongly opposed. Later that month, Senate passed an Academic Planning and Priorities document that contained language on search and hiring that was in direct conflict with provisions of the Collective Agreement.

Spring, 2010

Grievance 2010-01, also known as the “Unfair Labour Practices grievance,” was filed at the beginning of January, 2010, in response to the positions the Employer had taken concerning the University Act and the powers of Senate. The KFA alleged bad faith and unfair labour practices: the Employer was attempting to negotiate or change terms and conditions of our work, directly with individual departments and members, ignoring the KFA as exclusive bargaining agent. The grievance was filed at Step 3.

On February 1, 2010, then-President David Atkinson denied the grievance, and one month later, March 1, Senate approved a new timetable matrix for Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business. Referred to as a “pilot project,” the new matrix contained changes to workload that were covered under the Collective Agreement. There was no attempt to bargain these changes; they were unilaterally implemented without the involvement of the Union.

In March and April, the KFA sought to establish a joint committee process that would ensure that Collective Agreement implications were negotiated, but the Employer did not agree to the process. In May 2010, the day before bargaining was to begin, the KFA received a second letter from Scott Nicol, reiterating the position stated in the December, 2009 letter and adding:

“Further, with regard to matters within the powers of the Board but which require the advice or approval of Senate, the Board will not be in a position to agree to a collective agreement renewal that addresses such matters without first obtaining such advice or approval.”

July, 2010

On Friday, July 30, 2010, the KFA presented to the Labour Relations Board (LRB) of BC our complaint that the Employer was interfering with the union and refusing to bargain in good faith in violation of sections 6(1) and 11 of the Labour Code.

November, 2010

The Vice Chair of the LRB recommended  the matter be decided by an arbitrator, noting that the matter was a decision to unilaterally implement significant changes under the Pilot Project, which he characterized as a dispute between the parties under the Collective Agreement. The arbitration date was set for eighteen months later: the end of June 2012.

April, 2012

While the parties were waiting for the case to be heard by an arbitrator, the KFA continued to encourage the Employer to resolve the issue. On April 24th, 2012, one month before the matter was to be presented to the arbitrator, the Employer agreed to settle the grievance on the following basis:

1. “The Employer agrees that in future it will not implement a pilot project of this nature without first meeting with the Union in good faith to reach agreement on any Collective Agreement changes that the proposed pilot project would require.”

2. “The Employer acknowledges that the letters of December 1, 2009 and May 25, 2010, from Scott Nichol, Chair of the Board of Governors, to Terri Van Steinburg, President, Kwantlen Faculty Association, sets out the Employer’s interpretation of the University Act and the UBC decision, and that the Union has a different interpretation of these matters.”

The parties also agreed to meet to find a solution to the inconsistent payment for subbing contracts that arose as a result of the implementation of the course mode pilot project; this work is currently underway.

Your KFA pursued this issue in order to protect the integrity of our status as the exclusive bargaining agent for Kwantlen faculty and to protect our hard won, negotiated rights in the Collective Agreement. If the Employer wants to make changes to the conditions and terms of faculty work, such changes must be negotiated with the KFA.

Additional documents:

August 9, 2010 - Email re: LRB Complaint
May 28, 2010 - Email to all faculty from KFA
April 26, 2010 - Eroding Our Rights Bulletin
February 12, 2010 - Letter to all faculty

Background documents:
June 6, 2007 - Supreme Court ruling re: Bill 29
Sept 10, 2008 - Legal Opinion re: Establishment of Faculties
Dec 1, 2009 -  Letter from Kwantlen’s BOG to KFA
Dec 3, 2009 - KFA Legal response to BOG letter
Dec 3, 2009 - Letter from FPSE to PSEA re: BOG letter
Dec 4, 2009 - KFA response to BOG letter
Dec 7, 2009 - PSEA response to FPSE
Dec 10, 2009 - KFA Special Bulletin: A Bad Start To Bargaining
Jan 14, 2010 - KFA Special Bulletin: Update on Bargaining
Feb 26, 2010 - CAUT response to BOG
Mar 1, 2010 - BOG response to CAUT
May 25, 2010 - BOG letter to KFA: "Notice to Faculty Unions.."
April 24, 2012 - Grievance 2010-01 Settlement Agreement