LETTERS: Legal ruling upholds deal


Re: Union control beyond reason, Nov. 18 letters.


Re: Union control beyond reason, Nov. 18 letters.

My reading of the Supreme Court of Canada decision referred to by letter-writer Fred McCreath is not that it gave away the right to manage to unions, but rather it confirmed that collective agreements negotiated between parties should be upheld just as any other legal contract.

In this case, the Supreme Court of Canada’s responsibility was to decide on the 2002 action of the province of B.C. in passing “two statutes dealing with collective agreements for public sector workers in the field of education, the Education Flexibility and Choice Act, SBC 2002 c.3 and s. 5 of the Education Services Collective Agreement Amendment Act, 2004, SBC 2004, c.16. The legislation deleted collective-agreement terms between the applicant, the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) and the British Columbia Public School Employers Association (BCPSEA), the exclusive employer bargaining agent for the Province of British Columbia, the defendant. The legislation also prohibited future bargaining on certain issues.”

This Supreme Court of Canada award upheld the original decision by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Susan Griffin, which was appealed by the province and then brought to the Supreme Court of Canada by application from the BC Teachers Federation.

None of these decisions gave unions the right to manage.

The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Nov. 10 decision, confirmed that a collective agreement negotiated between the parties has the same meaning as any other contract in our society. One party to the agreement cannot arbitrarily delete previously agreed to terms in the contract, i.e. the government cannot legislatively delete terms which have been negotiated by the government and BCTF.

Leann Dawson, White Rock



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