Paul Pelletreau, Business Representative with IAM District 250 recently won an important arbitration award concerning enshrining National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) in British Columbia collective agreements.
Members now have the right to participate in supporting the Indigenous communities (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) in British Columbia.
The wins for IAM members really began last year when we contested Olympic Motors’ position on NDTR”, said Pelletreau. “That decision was handed down by the arbitrator on 25 November, 2021, which served as a precedent”, says Pelletreau.
“The key piece is that it has not been declared a provincial statutory holiday. The certification for that agreement is provincial, while the holiday was declared at a federal level. We argued that the language was broad enough to be declared and observed as a provincial holiday as well. Since that was a first agreement, we treated it like a violation of the collective agreement. The arbitrator decided in our favour, he concluded.
The arbitrator ruled that when the government declares a holiday, it would be recognised as a stat holiday. The IAM argued that stat holidays have a broader meaning and that workers wouldn’t be coming in to work that day. If they show up, employer must pay a premium for their work.
Another decision on NDTR was when the IAM won a similar decision concerning Pacific Honda on 22 April, 2022. The union made a similar argument and won the arbitration.
Westminster Toyota and Downtown Toyota are also very recent decisions (June 2, 2022). The two separate employers hired one lawyer to argue against the union’s position together. The decision affected two employers and two collective agreements. The language was identical in both agreements, so there was not much change to the contract language.
Pelletreau cations that the win was contingent on language currently in the collective agreements, so IAM representatives should be sure before taking it to an arbitrator.
“The main win,” says Pelletreau, “is that IAM members in B.C. can now freely take 30 September to observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to reflect on, and show solidarity with Indigenous Peoples in private and public ways.”
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
The IAM encourages all IAM members to wear orange on 30 September, 2022.
For more information:
Paul Pelletreau, Business Representative, IAM District 250
Frank Saptel, IAM Canada Communications