ALRB changes mind, Red Deer workers approved for union vote

The ALRB had originally ruled that the union didn’t have enough support among the 55 workers it was trying to organize. They changed their mind after the union appealed.

Back in February, I wrote a story about workers with the Red Deer-based CarbonBite Innovations Inc. trying to unionize.

The workers had chosen Local 92 of the Construction and General Workers’ Union, also known as Local 92 Labourers, to represent them.

The employer produces mulching equipment and installs solar power systems.

Had the application for union certification gone through, Local 92 Labourers would’ve represented around 55 workers.

According to a recent decision published to the Alberta Labour Relations Board website, a board officer report found that the “application was timely and the unit applied for was appropriate for collective bargaining”; however, it also “concluded that the union lacked the requisite support for a representation vote”.

As a result, the ALRB denied the union the ability to hold a representation vote.

However, Local 92 didn’t agree with the ALRB’s assessment, as they believed that some of the names included in the list of people who were eligible to vote shouldn’t have been.

So, they appealed the report’s findings. The employer also appealed the findings but for the opposite reason: that there were names excluded that shouldn’t have been.

In total, the union objected to 6 of the names that had been included, and CarbonBite objected to 6 of the names that had been excluded.

As part of the appeal process, both parties submitted rationale for their objections.

Nancy Schlesinger, chair of the ALRB, indicated in last month’s decision that after reviewing that rationale, the ALRB had determined that two of the names that the union wanted excluded indeed should’ve been excluded.

However, every one of the names that the employers claimed should be included were to continue being excluded from the list, according to this decision.

With the additional two workers being added to the list of eligible voters, as well as two other unspecified objections raised by the union but which were resolved prior to the hearing, the ALRB had to recalculate whether the union had sufficient support to vote on certification.

As a result of that recalculation, the ALRB determined that the union actually does have enough support to hold a representation vote after all.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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