The B.C. Labour Relations Board has ruled it does not have jurisdiction to declare a “hot declaration” void where the declaration was issued in connection with a federally regulated labour dispute.
The application before the Board concerned a hot declaration issued as a result of the labour dispute between Telus Communications Inc. and the TWU. The B.C. Federation of Labour instructed its affiliated unions to support the TWU by refusing to perform Telus-related work.
Following the BC Fed’s declaration, unionized employees refused to handle advertisements which Telus had contracted to place in their employer’s newspaper. The employer applied to the Board for a ruling that the BC Fed’s hot declaration was void, and for an order requiring the unions to cease their illegal strike.
The Board found it lacked jurisdiction to pronounce the hot declaration void, because it originated from a federal labour dispute. The Board confirmed that if the origin of a dispute is federal, the B.C. Labour Relations Code will not apply to ancillary disputes concerning secondary picketing or hot declarations.
However, the Board found it did have jurisdiction to determine whether the unions had engaged in an illegal strike. That issue was considered in a separate decision released by the Board on October 3, 2005 (BCLRB No. B265/2005). Relying on the principle in Pacific Press Limited, (BCLRB No. 171/86), the Board confirmed that employees are not engaged in a strike where a refusal to perform work is permitted by the terms of their collective agreement. The Board ordered the union to cease and desist their work refusal pending an expedited arbitration to determine whether such a right existed in the collective agreement.