Town of Kamloops Fails Appeal Against Bylaws Bureau Reorganization

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Kamloops City Appeal over Arbitration Ruling Rejected

City of Kamloops’ attempt to challenge a labour arbitration decision encountered a setback. The appeal came as a reaction to a verdict given by an arbitrator in the previous August. The arbitrator’s decision held the city accountable for violating the collective agreement during a restructure in its bylaw department. This reorganization included the creation of a new role – the community services officer (CSO), replacing the former bylaw services officer and jail guard positions, as well as the introduction of a new physical fitness test.

The Judgement from Arbitrator and Later Appeal from the City

The arbitrator, Andrew Sims considered that even though the city has the authority to reorganise, the incorporation of new qualifications, requirements or a shift in work, was a breach of the agreement with CUPE Local 900. The city disputed this decision, arguing that Sims lacked the ‘reasoned analysis’ for his decision and highlighted noted discordances in his judgement.

Rejection of the City’s Appeal

Despite the city’s best efforts, its appeal was overruled by LRB vice-chair David Duncan Chesman. Chesman noted that Sims had successfully met the board’s review standard, and handled the main disagreement in accordance with the collective agreement. He emphasised that the arbitrator’s decision was logical and did not contradict code principles. Moreover, Chesman noted that the city still maintained the right to contest about remedies, given an agreement could not be concluded with the union.

Consequences and Next Steps

The decision endorses the arbitrator’s ruling that the city’s organisational changes, in particular the establishment of the new CSO role, violated the union agreement. At this juncture, the city and the union need to collaborate to come up with a solution. In case of a deadlock, the arbitrator will have the authority to decide the employment terms of the revised bylaw department. The case serves as a pertinent reminder of the importance of upholding workers’ rights according to collective agreements, even in situations of organisational transformation.


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