Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Arbitrator rules in favour of faculty at NWCC campus locations

“Unfortunately, the administration at Northwest decided to follow an expensive and time-consuming litigation that has undermined labour relations at the college,”  --- Kevin Rose, national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, one of two unions representing faculty members at Northwest Community College

A long running  arbitration battle between Northwest Community College and two unions representing faculty at the college has come to an end, with the arbitrator ruling in favour of the union over layoff notices delivered in 2012.

At the time, the contentious layoffs were announced as the College sought to address some of its financial issues of the day.

However at the time, the two unions held firm to their position that the layoff notices violated the terms and conditions spelled out in the collective agreement. An impression that now seemingly has been upheld by the Arbitrator.

According to a media release from CUPE, the arbitrator has ruled that in a number of instances the employers actions towards individual faculty members not only violated their rights under the collective agreement, but that those employees also suffered material losses and under the arbitrator's award, those employees are now entitled to additional relief.

The College responded to the arbitration process decision with a brief note on their website outlining their respect for Arbitrator Rod Germaine and confirming that they would take measures to address the conclusions of the arbitration ruling.

For its part CUPE once again expressed their disappointed that its members had been put through the strain  and stress of the process, adding that considering the budget pressures that NWCC has faced, that in the opinion of CUPE, it all has raised serious doubts about the approach that senior administrators took during the dispute.

You can review further details on the decision and the fall out from it from the CUPE press release.

And while the union states that labour relations are a bit contentious at the college in the wake of the arbitration process, the rebuilding of relationships will perhaps have to fall to later and upon the arrival of a new President for the College.

As we outlined yesterday on the blog, Dr. Denise Henning the President of Northwest Community College has accepted a new position in Alberta, she is to leave her NWCC post by May 1st.

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