Prince Rupert hospital ordered to reinstate IUOE power engineers

The BC Labour Relations Board has reopened the case between the IUOE and the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

The BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) has reopened the case between the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.

In the initial filing, the union claimed the hospital acted in an anti-union manner in eliminating engineering positions by replacing steam boilers with electric boilers — something the Labour Relations Board agreed with in its June ruling. At the time, the board ruled the members of the IUOE were entitled to compensation, but the LRB took it a step further in an Oct. 16 decision.

“This, however, does not mean the power engineer positions would have disappeared. As the union has pointed out in its uncontradicted material, in other hospitals of the employer where the same boiler change has occurred, power engineer positions have been retained … the board’s subsequent decision on remedy ought not to have the effect of accepting an argument which was not accepted in the first place,” reads the ruling, noting it did not know “if, when or how” the boilers would be replaced “absent the improper motivation”.

“We order that the employees in the IUOE bargaining unit prior to the implementation of the initiative be reinstated to their power engineering positions with the employer.”

However, the board denied the union’s request to attach further conditions prior to Northern Health  taking steps in the future regarding the IUOE.

“We do not find that to be necessary in the circumstances on a number of bases. They include the fact that the employer agreed to reinstate the union and, as noted in the submissions, two of the key management members in respect to the initiative are no longer employed by the employer,” read the ruling.