#102 – 5783 176A Street, Cloverdale, BC, V3S 6S6 1 604 408 0746 unifor2000@unifor2000.ca

Here’s where it matters whether a contract clause says ‘and’ or ‘or’.

The union at Mission Hill Winery (SEIU) in West Kelowna grieved that they didn’t get the Truth and Reconciliation Day holiday

Their contract clause lists stat holidays and says “plus, all other Statutory Holidays as may be declared by the BC Provincial and Federal Governments.”

Many of our contracts in Local 2000 have similar language. In the Okanagan, for example, it’s “any other general holiday declared, proclaimed or celebrated by the Federal or Provincial Government.”

PNG uses: “and any other day duly proclaimed as a public holiday by Federal or Provincial authority.”

The arbitrator in the Mission Hill case ruled their wording meant both governments had to declare the holiday for it to be granted to the employees. The province hasn’t yet declared it a holiday.

But when or is used instead of and, like in the Okanagan or at PNG, one government’s approval is good enough.

Here’s the Kelowna Daily Courier’s story (June 10):

“Workers at a West Kelowna winery have lost their bid for a paid day off to observe National Truth and Reconciliation Day. 

“A Labour Relations Board arbitrator has ruled the collective agreement between the owners of Mission Hill Winery and its unionized employees does not require staff get the day off with pay. 

“The agreement states the recognition of all statutory holidays that are declared “by the BC Provincial and Federal Governments”, arbitrator Allison Matacheskie noted in her ruling. 

“While Ottawa has proclaimed National Truth and Reconciliation Day to be a statutory holiday, the B.C. government has not. Service Employees International Local 2 Branch 300, said the wording should be interpreted as meaning a stat holiday declared by either the provincial or federal governments should be recognized in the agreement as a paid day off. 

“The company disagreed, and Matacheskie supported Mission Hill’s position. 

“’Applying the plain and ordinary meaning of the word ‘and’, I find that both the provincial and federal governments must declare any new statutory holiday for it to meet the requirements negotiated in (the collective agreement),’ Matacheskie wrote in siding with the company’s position.”

See ruling here.