CUPE Local 5180.1 is the bargaining agent for employees of SteriPro, many of whom were transferred to SteriPro from the Hospital in a previous Article 10.02 arrangement. When the Hospital decided to end its contracting out arrangement with SteriPro and take the work back, SteriPro failed to provide notice of layoff to the affected employees, contrary to the requirements of Article 9.08(A). SteriPro sought to rationalize its conduct by arguing that there was an ongoing need for the work and that actual layoffs eventually proved to be unnecessary because employees had resigned. The Union argued that the Hospital’s rationale found no basis in the Collective Agreement.
The Board of Arbitration, chaired by Russell Goodfellow, agreed with the Union. He confirmed that Article 9.08(A) operates “proactively or prospectively”, meaning that notice of layoff must be provided five months in advance, and the Hospital is not entitled to follow a ‘wait and see’ approach where it can await resignations “and later argue that actual layoffs were unnecessary because employees quit.”
This case confirms that the full panoply of Article 9.08(A) rights apply to subcontractors who come to stand in the place of the Hospital for the purposes of the collective agreement under Article 10.02. It also reiterates the fundamental purpose of the five-month notice period, namely to “set in train” the rights triggered by notice of layoff, including offers of early retirement and voluntary exit packages.