Vehicles line up to board B.C. Ferries sailing at Tsawwassen. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

A judicial review related to the B.C. ferry workers union’s right to strike has been dismissed by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

In November, the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union presented its case to Judge Grace Choi related to a 2016 arbitration decision, where it was determined that the union “contractually agreed not to engage in strike activity during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.” British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. and B.C. Labour Relations Board were named as respondents.

The union’s current collective agreement is set to expire in November 2020 and a negotiation period begins August 2020. The union previously said it was being unfairly denied access to the right to strike via a misreading of statutory obligations that people are held to under the labour relations code. Last November, Graeme Johnston, union provincial president, told the News Bulletin that the Supreme Court of Canada has stated that if the right to strike is to be removed, it has to be “done in the most express terms possible, [with] clear language, and it can’t be done by implication and in our case, what the arbitrator ruled and what the board upheld is the removal of our right to strike happened by implication.”

RELATED: B.C. ferry workers’ union fights for right to strike

In her judgment dated May 10, Choi said the judicial review was “not a rehearing of a case on its merits,” and that the reconsideration decision may be reviewed on “correctness or patent unreasonableness,” with the union claiming correctness and the other parties claiming patent unreasonableness, according to Choi.

She said the board didn’t administer a “fulsome Charter values analysis,” but that was “not patently unreasonable.” The board knew that the topic was considered by the arbitrator and the original panel, Choi’s judgment said.

“The board was able to determine which principles of law, including the fundamental right to freely associate, were germane and relevant to the decision it had to make within its narrow scope of review … The board concluded that the interest arbitration clause at issue is a legitimate dispute resolution mechanism consistent with the principles expressed and implied in the code,” said Choi.

In conclusion, Choi said she dismissed the union’s application because “nothing leaps out as patently unreasonable respecting the reconsideration panel’s review of the original decision.”

In an e-mail, Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries’ spokeswoman, said the corporation was pleased with the court’s decision, but had no further comment.

Johnston didn’t respond to a request for comment.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

VIDEO: ‘Hands, washing hands’: Surrey teachers sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ with COVID-19 lesson

Staff at Fleetwood Park Secondary are featured in video posted to Youtube on Friday

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Most Read