Partial Closure of Business Rules Do Not Apply to Layoff

|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/05/2011

When the manufacturing crisis that preceded the recent recession struck, the company was forced to lay off employees. Eventually, roughly 230 employees were laid off out of an original workforce of 300. As well, a number of machines were taken out of service and removed from the workplace.

The collective agreement had recently been renewed. During negotiations, the union had demanded plant-wide seniority rather than occupational seniority. The company did not accept the demand. In the end, the parties agree that, in the event of permanent closure or permanent partial closure of a department only, the employees affected would have plant-wide seniority.

When, during the second round of layoffs, 140 employees lost their jobs, the union launched a grievance. The layoffs had taken place based on occupational seniority and not plant-wide seniority, despite the fact that over 50 per cent of the employees in one department had been laid off. That grievance was not pursued.