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unit of only maintenance employees certified
October 21, 2000

The BC Labour Relations Board has certified a first bargaining unit consisting of a tiny fraction of the employees at the same location. This decision may indicate a shift in policy towards further facilitating the certification of non-union employers. The Board has provided the following summary of the decision. A more detailed analysis of the decision will be provided in a NewsFlash in our publications area shortly.

In Fleetwood Sausage, BCLRB No. B364/2000, the IBEW, Local 213 applied to be certified for employees in the employer’s maintenance department. The employer objected on the grounds that the unit applied for was inappropriate. The proposed unit represented 13 out of approximately 227 employees at the plant. The employer argued that the proposed unit violated the policy in Island Medical Laboratories (“IML”) that the Board will not select out a minority of classifications in a physically integrated plant.

The Board rejected the employer’s argument and agreed with the union that the statement in IML regarding a minority of classifications was not intended as an additional factor to be considered in determining appropriateness. Rather, it was a statement made by the IML reconsideration panel in applying the standard community of interest test to the facts of the Dueck case.

Consideration of the effect of a physically integrated plant falls within the factor of functional integration. The reference to “minority of classifications” also reflects a concern for the level of integration, and does not require an arithmetical approach to appropriateness. There is nothing in the Code that requires the certification to include either a certain number of people or a particular percentage of the total workforce. On the standard community of interest test, the unit applied for was appropriate. The union’s application for certification was granted.