Vancouver, BC – A British Columbia arbitrator has ordered Finning Canada pay 10 IAM members in excess of $130,000.00 plus interest in severance following a layoff dating back to March 2016.
“These workers were entitled to enhanced severance under the terms of the collective agreement agreed to by the company,” explained IAM District Lodge 250 Business Representative Paul Pelletreau. “When the company declined to follow the terms of the agreement we filed a grievance and it subsequently went to arbitration and has taken this long to get our members the money they deserved. We proved our case and I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
The grievance relates to the March 2016 layoffs of 13 electricians employed at Finning’s Power Systems Branch facility in Richmond, BC (Richmond PSB). Of those laid off in March 2016, certain employees were recalled or transferred, but 10 employees remained on layoff. Two of those employees voluntarily terminated their employment during the recall period and eight remained on layoff until their rights expired. The ten individuals were paid severance under Article 27.01.
The grievance, filed September 15, 2017, claims the members were entitled to enhanced severance under Articles 27.02 (Branch Closure), 33 (Technological and Procedural Change) and 34 (Contracting out)), of the collective agreement. The employer maintained the March layoffs occurred due to a downturn in business and a resulting lack of work.
Finning had been contracting out packaging work at Richmond PSB on certain products since January 2016 and the arbitrator determined that the company was looking to move facilities to Surrey, prior to the layoffs. Two months after the layoffs, Finning announced it was consolidating operations in Surrey, a facility which had no space for packaging work.
The arbitrator determined that employees who were laid off in March 2016 and not recalled are entitled to enhanced severance under Article 27.02 with interest as claimed. Arbitrator Julie Nichols also ruled that the two employees who voluntarily terminated their employment during the recall period be entitled to enhanced severance as well. The hearing took five days.