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Documents show Northern Health, IUOE still far apart in remediation from LRB ruling

Documents obtained by the Prince Rupert Northern View show Northern Health and the International Union of Operating Engineers are still far apart when it comes to remediation stemming from an Oct. 31 B.C. Labour Relations Board (LRB) ruling.

A Dec. 21 letter to the LRB from Moore, Edgar, Lyster, the lawyers representing the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), lists eight remedies being sought. These include reinstating the power engineers to the positions they held previously; compensating three of the five for monetary losses; an order prohibiting the employer from engaging in acts that would achieve the same objective as this situation; continuing the power engineer positions; not changing those positions except under certain positions; posting future maintenance positions as IUOE jobs, and reimbursing the IUOE be for legal fees and other fees associated with the dispute. The union is further asking that former manager of facilities and support services Michael Curnes, health services administrator Sheila Gordon-Payne, northwest region human resources manager Fred Alaggia, director of strategic labour relations Fred Cummings and former Northern Health COO Marina Ellison, “have no further involvement in future decisions affecting the power engineers”.

“They have all participated in a deceitful anti-union scheme. They should not be permitted to engage in any further discussions or decisions about these jobs and their unions. Their conduct, both in engaging in this initiative and in the board's proceedings, make this clear,” Richard Edgar of Moore, Edgar, Lyster states in the letter to the LRB.

An earlier letter from Harris and Company, the lawyers representing Northern Health, states that remediation to the union should be minimal, if at all, based on the fact that the IUOE is on record as not objecting to the change in technology that saw the old steam boilers replaced with new electrical boilers.

“The effect of the IUOE not objecting to technological change is that it is not now in a position to claim any remedy that is based or founded on the pre-technological change situation at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital,” Peter Csiszar of Harris and Company states.

Northern Health contends there is no need for the engineers to be reinstated because the IUOE positions were changed due to the move to an electrical boiler.

“There can be no legal basis for this employer to have power engineer positions which are not required with the technology that the IUOE accepts as having been appropriate for the employer to implement,” Csiszar stated.

 

 

 

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