Summary of the findings from the Fairmont Royal York Labour Board Decision

Unifor’s 2018 case at the Labour Board made over 40 distinct allegations, ultimately with the aim of overturning the June 2018 ratification of the Collective Agreement. Overturning the ratification of the Collective Agreement would retroactively create an “open period” in the following months, thereby requiring the board to “open the box” from the September raid vote.

There are many many details in this case, all of which can be reviewed in the document in full, but we have tried to summarize the key points below with quotations from the decision itself. Quotations include the relevant paragraph number.

Unifor’s arguments fail to overturn the ratification AND fail to “open the box.”

The following is the Vice Chair’s summary of the case:

Part 4 – Conclusions and disposition.

  • “289. I summarize the findings above, as follows. Most of the allegations made by Unifor and the DFR applicants have not been made out. Fairmont and Local 75 did not conspire to conclude a collective agreement to foreclose the open period. Local 75 did not mislead bargaining unit employees in the ratification process, subject to my finding below. The discipline issued to Unifor supporters was not tainted by anti-union animus. While I acknowledge some shortcomings in Fairmont’s processes, the defects are not so significant to draw the inference that Fairmont was punishing employees for their support for Unifor.

There was no “collusion” . . . L75 and Fairmont were not working together against Unifor.

  • 212. Fairmont did not collude with Local 75 and provide improper support to Local 75 to secure a collective agreement.

There were no special favors to Local 75. For example, Unifor alleged that by granting access to Local 75 organizers, Fairmont was giving favours to Local 75. Instead, the decision emphasized that access to the property is a right secured by the workers through our contract.

  • 183. Context matters. Local 75 was trying to ratify the collective agreement. Fairmont was required to permit Local 75 representatives to access the Hotel to build support for ratification of the Tentative Agreement. But Unifor did not have a collective agreement right of access and it was not entitled to such a right.”

Unifor also alleged that discipline against certain individuals was an example of Fairmont collusion with Local 75. The decision dismissed these allegations.

The ratification vote was fair and it stands

Unifor argued that L75 tricked workers into ratifying their Collective Agreement.

  • “196. Unifor urged the Board to set aside the agreement based on Local 75’s intentional deception of bargaining unit employees alone.”

Instead, the Board said workers had access to all of the information they needed to make a intelligent decision about ratifying their contract.

  • “210. For the reasons given below, I find Local 75 did not mislead employees about the Changes. I further find that the summaries issued by Local 75 included sufficient information whether the Tentative Agreement was in the ratification room or was properly publicized (because the significant language changes were included in the summaries) I find it was available to employees.”
  • “285. Finally, Unifor argues that the last-minute deal was part of a
    scheme of collusion between Fairmont and Local 75 to mislead
    employees about the Tentative Agreement. However, I have rejected most of Unifor’s arguments that Local 75 violated the Act in communicating to employees about the Tentative Agreement. Fairmont’s communication with employees after April 29, 2018 was limited, and with respect to the points that Unifor claims were part of a last minute concession (term, wages, pension), I have found neither Fairmont nor Local 75 misled employees.”

Unifor incorrectly alleges that Local 75 gave up room drops. The Board confirms that this is still very much a right:

  • “273. The collective agreement still permits employees to give back
    rooms, but the notice provides that the process for doing so may change (to comply with the language of the collective agreement).”

Unifor’s case was a stretch to begin with

There are numerous examples of the Board finding Unifor’s evidence not trustworthy:

  • 192. Much of Unifor’s evidence about the past practices was incomplete, self-serving and general – even evidence given by Unifor witnesses who were until December of 2017, representatives of Local 75 (and therefore presumably knew details about the practices) like Pimental, for example.”
  • In paragraph 253, the decision describes a key witness’ evidence as too internally inconsistent to be reliable.”
  • In paragraph 187, the Board describes the statements of another Unifor witnesses who alleged a Local 75 organizer made threats to their safety as follows: “This further undermines her credibility and suggests the statement, if made, could not have reasonably been interpreted as a threat.”

Unifor abandoned huge parts of its original case.

  • 28. Unifor pleaded that the closure of Epic Restaurant; Local 75 and Fairmont’s handling of arbitrations of valet grievances; and electoral misconduct in the second ratification vote by Local 75 (ineligible voters being permitted to vote, Local 75’s failure to give proper notice) violated the Act. The parties led evidence about these allegations.”
    “29. Unifor did not raise these allegations in its final argument. Having not raised them in argument, I find the Unifor has abandoned them” . . . “I am satisfied that Local 75 made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the voters’ lists at the ratification and to ensure the fairness of the vote.”

The Board dismissed nearly all of the violations alleged by Unifor. However, even if they had not, it was unlikely that they would have been successful in resulting in the box being opening.

  • “ 291. Even if I had found violations of the Act as alleged by Unifor including the alleged violations regarding discipline, access to the workplace or rights to wear apparel, the violations are too remote from the ratification of the Tentative Agreement to grant the remedy requested of rescinding the agreement.”

But Unifor had its fair chance to make its case. The decision references the unusual amount of time Unifor requested for this case.

  • “23. In the preliminary rulings, the Board dismissed some of Unifor’s allegations for failure to make out a prima facie case. Despite this, the hearings took an unusual length of time: Board began hearing evidence on April 24, 2019 and the parties finished final argument on November 17, 2020. Over 28 hearing dates, the Board heard from more than 40 witnesses.”

Local 75 isn’t perfect

Local 75 was delayed in processing some grievances, and the Board agreed with those grievants that they could have moved more quickly. However, no damage was done to the grievants by those actions because those grievances were pursued by Local 75.

  • 293. a) that Local 75 violated section 74 of the Act by failing to communicate with Guanzon, Williams, and Timoteo about the status of their grievances and as a result, their processing was delayed. In Manalastas’ case, Local 75 violated section 74 when it did not permit her step 2 meeting to be scheduled while she was serving her suspension. I declare that Local 75 violated the Act. I decline to order any other remedy because the applicants’ grievances were otherwise processed in accordance with the Act

Overall, despite over 40 charges made by Unifor, they were not successful in overturning the ratification vote. In short, they lost.

Again, the full decision is available for review online.

Let’s put this conflict behind us. Our future is secure when we stick together.