Labour Board Rejects Union Complaint about LabourWatch.com
John Mortimer, President
The Newfoundland & Labrador Labour Relations Board rejected a Union complaint that an employer’s reference to LabourWatch.com represented an Unfair Labour Practice. The Board dismissed the complaints in a one page order without reasons. The Union filed two complaint pleadings.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) complained to the Board that a Newsletter circulated by Labrador Motors to its employees during a certification drive represented "intimidation and/or threats and/or coercion by the Employer.” The Union sought a "cease and desist" order and a remedial certification “without counting the vote”.
The Union did not object to the Newsletter directing employees to the Labour Board and the Union for more information. NAPE took exception to the Newsletter referring employees to LabourWatch.com.
The Newsletter simply said the following, "…a website devoted to answering employee questions on this issue can be found at www.labourwatch.com."
NAPE’s complaint was that, "…the Employer's reference to the LabourWatch website in its newsletter …in itself constitutes an unfair labour practice …(and) that in the case of Wal-Mart” (BCLRB 156/2003), “the BCLRB considered the issue of the distribution of documents downloaded from the LabourWatch website, www.labourwatch.com ...(including) two pages created by the distributor of the materials as well as a union membership revocation form. In considering the nature of the material the BCLRB referred to it as ‘anti-union material’."
In its pleading, NAPE also cited a New Brunswick case, Bonté Foods ( IR-036-03: 07/22/03 ), where the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board noted that, " …the neutrality of the labourwatch.com website has yet to be determined".
NAPE did not succeed in its attempt to use the New Brunswick and British Columbia cases to convince the Newfoundland and Labrador Board that Labrador Motors committed an Unfair Labour Practice. The Board found that the Employer “has not violated the Act as alleged” and rejected the complaint in a simple one-page order that made no reference to LabourWatch.
A copy of NAPE's pleadings, the employer’s reply and the Board's dismissal are on the website in the Decisions section of About Us. We have not included a second Board Decision that is 20 pages long, that deals with issues around a terminated employee. There are no references to LabourWatch in it and this second Union complaint was also dismissed. Click here to view the entire decision.
About LabourWatch - Informed Employees, Informed Choices
LabourWatch advances employee rights in labour relations. We provide resources on unionization to help employees make informed choices. The Canadian LabourWatch Association is a federally-incorporated, non-profit founded in 2000. LabourWatch's membership includes law firms and industry associations across Canada that provide financial and voluntary professional support for the organization's activities. LabourWatch encourages employers, particularly, to use the website in consultation with a labour lawyer.