Court upholds seniority rights of highway workers | National Union of Public and General Employees

Court upholds seniority rights of highway workers

Protracted legal battle dates back to layoffs imposed by the Newfoundland and Labrador government in 2005.

St. John's (8 June 2010) - The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has upheld the findings of an arbitration board in a case involving seniority rights for highway workers.

The case was filed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE/NUPGE) against the province's transportation and works department

NAPE president Carol Furlong says the decision is a big victory for workers affected and validates seniority provisions in their collective agreement. The case dates back to 2005 when the employees were laid off by the province.

Furlong said the court has ordered the two sides to settle outstanding salary and benefit claims through negotiation. If they fail, the dispute will go to arbitration for a final resolution.

"This award addresses the monetary aspect of the grievance but even more importantly the court recognized the need to protect the principle of seniority, a bedrock principle of unions," she says.

NAPE won a grievance on the matter when it was first filed but the province pursued the case all the way to the province's top court, losing at every stage.

Furlong has called on the province to immediately reinstate the workers and reopen highway units closed this spring.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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