EDMONTON - In a key decision released today, the Alberta Labour Relations Board has, once again, proven itself little more than a lapdog for big business, says Gil McGowan, the new president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
"The Board today reversed its earlier decision that found Finning Canada and O.E.M. Remanufacturing were common employers and that the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Lodge No. 99 had successor union rights to the operations of O.E.M.," said McGowan.
"If this results stands, 160 long-term Finning employees are going to be out of work - and their families are going to suffer the consequences."
According to McGowan, the situation began when Finning built a new remanufacturing plant in Edmonton, but thinly disguised its complete ownership of that plant in order to avoid its responsibilities to its current union and current employees.
"By reversing its original decision that the two employers were in fact the same entity, the Board has legitimized Finning's actions which include signing a deal with a different employee group at the new plant, and laying-off and replacing the employees in their current rebuilding facility," said McGowan.
The Board could only reach its current position by pretending that Finning International and Finning Canada - a wholly-owned subdivision of Finning International � were two different entities, claimed McGowan.
"The Alberta Labour Relations Board has once again jumped through hoops in order to get to an employer-friendly decision," charged McGowan. "This is a good example of why working people and unions have no faith or trust in the Board any longer. To say that Finning International and Finning Canada are separate entities flies in the face of past precedents and run counter to common sense."
The real relationship between Finning and OEM was recognized by the LRB in its original ruling and can be summarized as follows:
- Finning Canada, a division of Finning International, pays the total costs for the construction of the new O.E.M. component rebuilding centre.
- Finning provides all of the money for the creation of O.E.M. - financing the purchase of two existing independent firms.
- Finning International controls all of the Class A shares in the parent company for O.E.M.
- Finning contracts all of its rebuilding work to O.E.M., announces it will be shutting down its own facility and dismissing the workers.
- The "new" company signs a union contract with the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) leaving IAM Lodge 99 and its members out in the cold.
"The Alberta Labour Relations Code section 46 was clearly written to prevent employers from evading their union responsibilities and the rights of workers by simply starting up a new company," concluded McGowan.
"But now the Alberta Labour Relations Board charged with enforcing the Act is actually undermining the intent of that Act. This is a betrayal of working people, plain and simple. If there ever was any doubt where the LRB's real allegiance lies, those doubts have been put to rest. With this decision, the LRB has proven that they are not really an impartial referee in matters of labour relations."
For more information contact:
Gil McGowan, AFL President at 915-4599 (cell)