As you may recall, during the last round of collective bargaining, the employer, in some offices, directed Local Union representatives to remove from bulletin boards our Bargaining Update to members dated May 10, 2019. The reasons cited by the employer for refusing to allow the update to be posted were that the update was not in compliance with the provisions of the collective agreement, it contained false and inaccurate statements and that it was adverse to the CRA’s interests.
As a result of this action by the employer, the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) asked the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to file an Unfair Labour Practice Complaint against the employer with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (the Board). This complaint was heard by videoconference before the Board on September 15 and 16, 2020 and the Board issued its decision on January 6, 2021.
Once again, we were successful in our Complaint and the Board found that the employer, in refusing to allow the posting of our Bargaining Update, had violated sections 5 and 186(1)(a) of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Act and articles 12.01 and 19.01 of the collective agreement between the parties. In allowing the Complaint, the Board found, amongst other things that “it was arbitrary and unreasonable for the respondent to deny the complainant the right to post its communiqué in the workplace” and , that “as a result of the chief negotiator’s unreasonable and arbitrary action, the respondent interfered with the bargaining process and the complainant’s ability to represent its membership.”
Moreover, the Board also found that “there was nothing illegal in its contents, and it was not abusive, defamatory or a fraudulent statement particularly when compared with what the employer had posted on InfoZone”, that “the language, tone, and content of the union’s message were practically mirror images of what the employer had posted and obviously complied with the standards governing the parties’ present labour relations system, or the employer’s communiqué would have been equally offensive to the complainant” and that ‘the sole purpose of controlling the posting was that as Mr. Bellevance stated in his evidence, he wanted to prevent the union’s ability to mobilize its members in the workplace”.
The Board has directed the employer to post this decision in the workplace and on InfoZone for a period of 90 days.
Presently, the decision is only available in English. When the decision becomes available in both official languages, we will send it to Executive Council and Locals.
Senior Labour Relations Officer