Glacier Media ordered to make employees whole following pandemic related layoffs
March 12, 2021
Unifor Local 2000 is celebrating a recent arbitration decision that upheld seniority rights for two union members improperly laid off at the start of the pandemic.
The decision, released March 9, 2021, ordered the employer, Glacier Media, to make the two union members whole and reinstate one of them, who has been laid off for close to a year.
“We are very pleased with the decision, and it reflects the outcome we were expecting,” said Jennifer Moreau, Secretary-Treasurer for Local 2000. “This decision upholds seniority rights, one of the most core principles for unions.”
In April 2020, Glacier Media laid off employees at the Burnaby NOW and the New Westminster Record, shortly after the global pandemic was declared. The union grieved two of the layoffs – one in the editorial department and the other in the sales department – and a third case where an employee’s hours were reduced, which was tantamount to a partial layoff.
All three employees had more seniority than other members in their respective classifications.
The company argued the layoffs were valid because employees did not have the necessary skills to do the work. The arbitrator, Ken Saunders, ruled that two of the three layoffs violated the section of the union contract that stipulates “the most junior person with the necessary skills to do the work shall be laid-off first.”
Saunders ordered that the employer make both employees whole, while reinstating the editorial employee, who was laid off for close to a year. The other had already been recalled to work, as the improper layoff was temporary. The union will be seeking pay for lost wages and any applicable entitlements.
Unifor Local 2000 represents 600 members who work primarily in newspapers, printing shops and at Purdy’s Chocolatier.
For comment, please call Jennifer Moreau at 604-816-5204.