BRITISH COLUMBIA LABOUR RELATIONS BOARD excerpt:
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DECISION OF THE BOARD
BCLRB No. B235/2007
(Leave for Reconsideration of BCLRB No. B44/2007)
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79 Those opposed to the application argue, in essence, that a difference of opinion and approach concerning organization and representation of employees in the unionized construction sector between CMAW and other members of the AHC has led to such “animosity” between CMAW and those members that “forcing” CMAW on the AHC risks destabilizing the poly-party, leading to industrial instability, contrary to Code principles. Those who espouse this argument admit that it is speculative, but argue that the Board should not risk, in effect, “upsetting the apple cart” that is the AHC.
80 We are sensitive to the risk of upsetting the proper and effective functioning of the AHC. We appreciate the point that such voluntarily formed poly-party entities are an important part of the labour relations landscape, particularly in the construction industry. In that context they provide a mechanism by which craft unions could deal with some of the challenges facing the sector. However, at the same time we find the risk of industrial instability said to flow from allowing the addition of CMAW to be speculative and overblown. CMAW has clearly stated that it recognizes it would be bound by the AHC constitution and bargaining structure if its application to replace BCPC is allowed.
81 We also note that CMAW actively participated with the Bargaining Council of British Columbia Building Trades Unions (“BCBCBTU”) in the last round of collective bargaining with the Construction Labour Relations Association (“CLR”) through which an industry-wide settlement was reached. BCBCBTU is a council of 15 craft unions (many of which are also members of AHC) created under Section 41 of the Code to bargain on a multi-trade, multi-employer basis. CLR represents construction contractors who have a collective bargaining relationship with one or more of those building trades unions.
82 While the other constituent members of AHC may be unhappy to have CMAW as a member of AHC, both the context of the building trades sector as well as the fact that employees have voted to have CMAW replace BCPC as a means of dealing with challenges facing the sector must be recognized: see paras. 72-77 above. In these circumstances, we are not persuaded that the differences of opinion and approach between CMAW and other members of AHC are valid reasons to bar CMAW from replacing BCPC in the AHC. Constituent members of a poly-party union are not required to like one another or to agree with one another’s views on all topics; they are required to work together in a way which is ultimately not self-defeating but rather is for the greater good – that is for the good of the employees which they collectively represent.
83 In the circumstances of this case, we are not persuaded to deny CMAW and BCPC’s application. The application reflects the wishes of employees who voted to have CMAW represent BCPC as their bargaining agent in order to deal with the challenges in the construction industry. In order not to unduly restrict the option CMAW
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represents, we grant the application to have CMAW replace BCPC in the AHC Certification.