Five British Columbia unions are alleging that the B.C. Labour Relations Board (LRB) is unable to make a fair, unbiased decision in their case. The complaint is a result of a long-standing dispute between the unions and PCL, one of B.C.’s largest construction companies.
The unions are asking the Supreme Court of B.C. to investigate as a result of PCL attempting to restrict its member firms in a way that the unions feel would breach existing collective agreements. PCL wanted to replace its craft bargaining relationships with a single bargaining unit, made up of members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada.
The unions are requesting the review of several cases decided by the LRB in the past as an indication that future decisions would be biased. They are also asking for an investigation as to whether the LRB could be viewed as biased, and whether or not the Board’s chair and associate chair could be viewed independently as biased against their interests.
The unions claim to have a sworn affidavit alleging the board is biased. In it, they claim that LRB associate chair, Michael Fleming, states that he made a decision in a previous case favouring PCL as a result of the relationship between the board’s chair, Brent Mullin, and the counsel for PCL.
The LRB cannot comment on the matter while the issue is under judicial review.
The unions issuing the complaint are Construction and Specialized Workers Local 1611, Ironworkers Local 97, Operating Engineers Local 115, Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 919, and Teamsters Local 213. They represent ironworkers, cement masons and operating engineers.
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