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Arbitration Board Acted Unfairly in Resolving Fire Fighters’ Dispute

Municipal firefighters in New Brunswick aren’t allowed to go on strike but must instead resolve their collective bargaining disputes via mediation and, if that fails, binding arbitration. That’s what happened in the City of Dieppe where a 3-person arbitration panel rendered a 2:1 decision that the lone dissenter characterized as overly favourable to the union. The City cried foul and claimed the board abused its authority by appointing the panel chairman, who was the union’s rep, to meet with union behind the City’s back and try to work out a settlement. The appeals court struck down the decision as being procedurally unfair and the Court of Appeal said it was perfectly right to do so. The point of the law is for the employer and the union to work out a settlement on their own. While the board is supposed to help in the process, it has no authority to delegate its powers to a single member, especially one representing one of the sides and then negotiate without the other side’s presence and participation [CUPE, Local 3515 v. Dieppe (City), 2019 NBCA 11 (CanLII), Jan. 31, 2019].

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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