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Industrial Relations Assignment

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1) Legal strikes and illegal strikes are dramatically different in terms of how they are viewed in Labour Law. Discuss.

Legal strikes follow a requirement process before finally deeming it legal. The following are strike notice requirements:
1) No collective agreement in force
2) Parties have bargained in good faith
3) Conciliation or mediation process completed
4) Strike vote
5) Notice of strike or lockout
6) Essential services agreement in place
If both parties still cannot agree to terms after step 6, then a strike can be deemed legal.
During a legal strike, both parties have followed the requirements of labour law; therefore there should not be any legal ramifications after it takes in effect. In fact, sometimes a legal strike can help both parties sit down at the negotiation table to discuss how their labour dispute can be resolved quickly and amicably.
However, if any of the requirements are not met, then it will be deemed an illegal strike.
With respect to labour law, an illegal strike can certainly affect the whole company, and even a city in some cases as it is a chain reaction to all its employees, shareholders, and owners.
When an illegal strike happens, it is considered a breach of the collective agreement. The employer must find solutions to end the strike as quickly as possible as it impacts lost productivity, lost revenue, and income generation.
The employer or union might file a grievance to take action during an illegal strike, and if it is not resolved, an arbitrator might step in and award damages to the employer or union.
An employer may also seek additional assistance from the labour relations board during an illegal strike for assistance.

2) How should Bob begin to address this situation?

Bob should begin to address the situation first by declaring that he will do a thorough investigation of Peter’s actions before coming to a decision.
Bob should speak with all of Peter’s peers and supervisors to get their feedback and opinions of him. This will give Bob a better understanding of the situation from first-hand accounts of Peter’s actions and behaviors.
Bob can also do a performance appraisal on Peter to see where he currently stands and compare it to previous years.

3) If Peter is discharged, what arguments would the company lawyer use at arbitration?

If Peter is discharged, the company lawyer can use the following arguments:
Peter has been late 52 times in the past four years; employees say his breath smells like alcohol on a regular basis, his absenteeism is way above the plant average, with over 100 over the past 4 years, he has unpredictable mood swings, his behavior is adversely affecting his co-workers, his performance has been deteriorating the past 4 years and is getting progressively worse, he leaves without informing his supervisors and skips work without providing any explanation.

4) What arguments would the union lawyer make in response?

The union lawyer can use the following arguments for Peter:
He has 25 years of seniority with the company with no disciplinary action, let alone any of that has gone to arbitration, he has a clean disciplinary record, no warnings of prohibitive behavior, no history of enforcement from the company condemning any of his actions, due to Peter’s age, it may be difficult for him to get another job in the current economic climate. There is no burden of proof deeming that Peter has been late and slacking off as it is all hearsay.

5) What criteria would an arbitrator use to decide the case and what decision would likely be made?

The arbitrator can use the following criteria to form a decision:
- Peter has been working with the company for the past 25 years
- He has never been disciplined before for any infractions and has a clear record
-Peter is 52 years old and will probably have a difficult time finding a new job at this age
- The arbitrator has heard from Bob that multiple sources are standing by their claims and complaints of Peter’s behavior, absenteeism, and declining performance
- Peter is adversely impacting his coworkers and the workplace environment if he is allowed to continue to work there
- Peter’s behavior is likely to continue without any discipline

The decision that is likely to happen would be for Peter to be discharged from the company because of due to the overwhelming complaints from peers and supervisors of his declining performance, unpredictable behavior, large amount of absenteeism and tardiness.
Although he has 25 years of seniority and at a clean track record, Peter continues to contribute to a negative impact towards the company and to his peers if he is allowed to continue to work there. If he was allowed to continue to work he would definitely set a bad example to other coworkers with his constant culpable absenteeism and tardiness.
An arbitrator might also advise Bob as to why there was no previous progressive disciplinary action for Peter’s actions over the four year span. If a company does not enforce any discipline, it also sets a bad precedence to other co-workers.

6) How does the situation change if Peter admits he is an alcoholic?

Peter may use the “last chance agreement” to disclose his alcoholism after his verdict. The situation changes because at that point, his alcoholism is deemed a disability and would be considered discrimination if he discharged because of it .
The employer will now have a duty to accommodate Peter’s alcoholism to a point where it will not induce undue hardship to the company, thereby giving Peter an opportunity to get professional help for his alcoholism, which may or may not have contributed to his recent performance struggles.
Regardless, Peter may not realize how much of an alcoholic he has become, as he was previously considered to be a chief steward at one point, therefore the company has a duty to accommodate Peter’s drinking disability. The company may have also indirectly contributed to Peter’s fall from grace as they have not enforced any discipline whatsoever and continued to allow Peter to miss and or skip work without any repercussion. If discipline was enforced earlier, Peter and the employer may not have arrived to this current situation. Also by enforcing progressive discipline, it shows a track record from the company of trying to correct the negative behavior, thereby giving this cause for dismissal if the behavior continued, which it has in this case.…...

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