Interest Arbitration Award

Executive Summary

From: George Rontiris (legal counsel)

To: The Association of Postal Officials of Canada

Re: Interest Arbitration Award

Arbitrator Lorne Slotnick issued his interest arbitration award on January 11, 2016. The issue put before him was whether Canada Post employees newly moved into the APOC bargaining unit should bring their corporation-wide seniority with them.

The Association argued that they should not. That all employees moving into APOC after the date of the interest arbitration award should have seniority based on the date they enter the bargaining unit. This would be the same as the other bargaining units at Canada Post.

The Association further argued that the current two-tier seniority system was unfair to those APOC members who were by-passed on the seniority B list by Canada Post employees moving into the bargaining unit with greater corporation-wide seniority. This seniority had a negatively impacted some members on the B list when bidding, scheduling vacation, order of recall and allocating overtime opportunities.

The Corporation argued that changing the current two-tier system would discourage upward mobility from within the Corporation. As well, the addition of a third tier would complicate an already complex system of staffing vacant positions and scheduling vacations, thereby increasing the likelihood of errors and grievances.

Arbitrator Slotnick was not convinced that the implementation of the two-tier seniority system in 2006 achieved the goal of encouraging upward mobility of employees within the Corporation. He was equally unconvinced that the addition of a third tier would significantly complicate the staffing system.

Nevertheless, the Arbitrator was not sufficiently convinced to change the current two-tier seniority system. He pointed to the fact the current system is a patchwork of seniority and that the Association’s proposal was just another patch. And that the Association was not prepared to apply this patch to all B list employees. Furthermore, that Canada Post employees were already used to maintaining their corporate-wide seniority.

In summary, the Arbitrator found that the Association had not demonstrated a need for the change to the system which, while imperfect, had been agreed to by the parties in 2006.