Denying Union Access to Workplace Violates Agreement

|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/07/2011

Having notified the employer by letter of her intent to visit the workplace and distribute documents related to the employer’s proposed shift changes, a union president was denied access to the workplace.

The union grieved, arguing that having fulfilled the procedural requirements with respect to notice as spelled out in the collective agreement, access could not be denied at the employer’s discretion. The union sought a declaration that the denial of access was a breach of the collective agreement.

The employer advanced the position that while the collective agreement did contemplate union access to the workplace, it did not extend the right to interact with employees on the shop floor, during working hours. Moreover, noting that the visit was proposed for the busiest time of the busiest day to discuss a contentious issue, the employer said that the right of union access to the workplace was subject to the condition that the visit not impair worker productivity.