BC Labour Relations Board sides with Canfor over payouts for Mackenzie sawmill workers

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
January 12, 2023
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Labour Relations Board panel member has set aside an arbitrator’s decision that would have entitled workers to “group termination pay” following closure of Canfor’s Mackenzie sawmill. On June 10, 2019, Canfor issued a six-week “curtailment” and one week later, on June 17, 2019, laid off almost all of its 187 unionized employees. Then, on July 18, 2019 – 10 days before the mill was scheduled to re-open – the company announced that the curtailment would be extended indefinitely. The Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada filed a grievance which contended… an employer must pay out group termination pay whenever it terminates 50 or more employees at a single location within any two-month period. In a decision issued May 10, 2021, arbitrator, Nicholas Glass, agreed with the union. But the panel member, LRB vice chair Stephanie Drake, found in favour of Canfor. …Drake found there were “exceptional and compelling reasons” for granting an extension and hearing the appeal.”

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