Unilateral reassignment of work violates contract

In order to satisfy legislated requirements, the employer transferred a worker with special qualifications from the day shift to cover shifts where his credentials were needed. The arbitrator sympathized with the employer’s situation, but concluded the contract had been violated by the transfer.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 10/12/2011

Short staffed and faced with new, statutorily mandated service obligations, a municipal employer unilaterally reassigned a regular day shift worker to shift work. The union grieved.

Municipal worker John Doe (J.D.) bid into the day shift Operator B classification at the city’s sewage and water plant.

Until 2006, the employer used qualified Operator Bs to cover shifts on an overtime basis for Trouble Investigation (TI) workers when the TI incumbents were unavailable.