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Lawsuit over OPG collective agreement moves forward

The Society’s efforts to judicially review an arbitrator’s decision that set many of the terms of the OPG Local’s 2013-2015 collective agreement are moving forward. The Society filed its legal arguments on June 30, 2014 andOPG replied in writing on August 15. The court will hear oral arguments from both sides beginning October 30, 2014.

The OPG Local is among those that have mediation/arbitration rather than strike/lockout as the method for resolving disputes over collective bargaining. In the last round of bargaining, austerity measures insisted on by the company made it an especially contentious negotiation. Included in the issues The Society and OPG referred to arbitration were wage rate, overtime, parental leave, and job security provisions.

To resolve each of these issues, an arbitrator considers many factors, including the company’s ability to pay. It is on this point that The Society believes Arbitrator Albertyn failed. OPG disclosed just two letter-sized pieces of paper to make the claim that it could not afford a more reasonable compensation increase for Society members. The Society asked for disclosure from OPG that would allow the union to test the claims the company made about its financial position. Arbitrator Albertyn would not compel this disclosure. The Society’s position is that without this disclosure the hearing couldn’t have been fair.

To restore fairness to the process, The Society has asked for, among other things, the arbitrator’s decision to be quashed – including the terms it set for the 2013-2015 collective agreement – and a new round of arbitration with a new arbitrator.