Safety Professional Was Unionized Position: Arbitrator

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An employer has been unsuccessful in its bid to keep a newly-created “capital safety planner” position out of a union bargaining unit.

The capital safety planner was to be involved from the outset in every project that the employer undertook.  He or she would impose requirements for health and safety on projects.

The arbitrator decided that the capital safety planner would not be performing functions of a manager or a superintendent, nor would he or she be employed in a confidential capacity in matters relating to labour relations or in a confidential planning or advisory position in the development of management policy.

Instead, the capital safety planner would implement policy that had already been developed by reviewing the work on each project, identifying the risks, and then determining the steps and resources necessary to address them.  Further, project safety was not a confidential matter that required the person to be excluded from the bargaining unit.

Lastly, the arbitrator noted that the union bargaining unit included other “professional and technical employees including a variety of planning positions”, so it would not appear inappropriate to include the capital safety planner in the bargaining unit.

B.C. Hydro and Power Authority v. Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (B.C. Arbitrator, January 18, 2013)

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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