New Brunswick Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA)
What is it for?
To enhance collective bargaining and constructive employer-employee relations, reduce conflict and facilitate labour-management cooperation and the fair resolution of disputes.
Who administrates the PSLRA?
The NB Labour and Employment Board (Board). They shall administer and exercise all powers conferred upon it by the PSLRA (Section 17).
Who comprises the Board?
It is comprised of a Chairperson who normally assembles a tribunal.
Definitions are found on the front page of the PSLRA.
Are we included under the PSLRA?
Yes, as Bargaining Unit employees in Part 1 of Government we are included under the Act. All affected Departments are found in The First Schedule of the PSLRA.
Does every member have the right to be a member of an employee organization?
Yes, the Act says that every employee can be a member of an employee organization and take part in their lawful activities. (Section 5)
Who is normally excluded from joining an employee organization?
Employees in a confidential or managerial position are normally excluded. (Section 7(1)
Does the PSLRA protect me as a PIPSC member from discrimination by the person in a management position?
Yes, it prevents discrimination and intimidation against an employee being a member of an organization or exercising their rights under the Act. Furthermore, no discrimination or intimidation can be directed towards the employee organization as well. (Sections 7(2&3) and 8(1))
Does the PSLRA address Complaints?
Yes, the Board shall examine and make determinations on complaints made by the employer, bargaining agent or employee on any portion of the PSLRA that may be violated and has not been addressed between the parties prior. (Section 19).
Can the Board make regulations to administer the PSLRA?
Yes the Board is allowed to do so. The main regulations that affect the NB Groups are the ones addressing designated positions, determination of units of employee, certification/ decertification of bargaining agents, rules of procedure for hearings, grievance adjudication, essential services and complaints covered under the PSLRA (Section 18).
When an order is given (Section 22) by the Board what happens when it is not followed?
The Board refers the order to the Minister responsible to carry out the order. Regardless of that action an employee may file a copy of the order in the Court of Queen’s Bench. (Section 22)
Can the Board reverse one of its decisions?
Yes, however the rights acquired by past decisions are not retroactive to the date of past decisions. They only apply going forward from the date of the newest decision. (Section 23)
Who determines Essential Services?
The employer advises the Board and bargaining agent of what is to be considered essential services in the interest of health, safety and security of the public. (Section 43) Affected positions cannot participate in any Strike Action.
What about Collective Bargaining?
The PSLRA describes the procedures to be followed. (Sections 44, 45 and 46)
What if an agreement on a Collective Agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the bargaining agent?
Typically one of the parties advises the Board of an impasse and the Board will assign a conciliator to assist them in reaching an agreement. A conciliation board or commissioner may also be appointed by request. (Sections 47-60)
What if after the conciliation process there is still agreement on the Collective Agreement?
The PSLRA states that the issues can be brought forward to binding arbitration or other processes. (Sections 70-77.1) However, Part 1 employers have not agreed to the arbitration process in the recent past. The PSLRA states that both parties need to agree to the process.
Does the PSLRA address Grievances?
Yes, however in NB Group Collective Agreements, grievance procedures are outlined to be followed in an attempt to solve grievances before they reach the Board level for adjudication. (Sections 18 g.1,g.2,g.3,h and i as well as 92-101) It is also of note that a Board decision on a grievance cannot amend the existing collective agreement. (Section 96(2)). The employer and bargaining agent must each pay half for this process. (Section 98(1)).
How about strikes and illegal strike activity?
The PSLRA describes how this is to be conducted. This is occurs only after all other steps are completed. The process is described within the PSLRA (Section 102, 102.1, 103, 104 and 105). Designated essential employees cannot take part in any strike action. (Section 102 (1)).