The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has been negotiating in bad faith with its union, the Canadian Office and Profession Employees (COPE) union Local 378, said the province’s Labour Relations Board (LRB.)
In a ruling (PDF) released last week, Bruce R. Wilkins, Vice-Chair of the LRB said that the insurer had refused to bargain monetary items – including wages and benefits – with the union until a government review of the corporation is complete.
“The Employer says if it were to bargain monetary items before knowing the Government’s monetary mandate it would run the risk of running afoul of the requirement to bargain in good faith,” said Wilkins’ decision.
“I declare the Employer’s refusal to bargain monetary items until the Government finishes its core review process is in violation of the requirement to bargain in good faith under Sections 11 and 47 of the Code. The Employer is ordered to withdraw its refusal to negotiate monetary items and is ordered to bargain towards a collective agreement with the Union on all issues,” says the decision.
“We’re pleased the Labour Board cleared away this artificial barrier thrown up by ICBC,” said Jeff Gillies, COPE 378 Vice President. “We’re eager to get back to the table to bargain a fair and reasonable agreement for our members.”
COPE 378 said the LRB order gives its members a “powerful tool.”
“If ICBC doesn’t now bargain monetary items in good faith the union has the ability to file the award in court,” a statement from the union said.
According to reports, bargaining sessions between ICBC and the union will start on July 11.
ICBC’s collective agreement expired in 2010. The union says it has been bargaining with ICBC since January 2011. The union has issued a strike notice, which started with an overtime ban, effective July 6, 2012.