In a ruling issued on March 4, 2021, the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board allowed the policy grievance that was submitted in relation to the involuntary overtime forced at Kent Institution, in the Pacific Region.
The Board declared that the sustained and chronic use of ordered overtime to deal with staff shortage was contrary to the Collective Agreement. The Board found that ordering overtime other than for an emergency or for the completion of a task (securing evidence after a seizure for example) was contrary to the contract.
This policy grievance was submitted in August 2018 after management at Kent Institution decided to deal with staff shortage by forcing involuntary overtime on our members instead of making all possible operational adjustments as before.
CSC argued before the Board: “that the Collective Agreement is silent about voluntary overtime and therefore, management has the right to order it in the way it sees fit.” The argument was rejected by the Board.
At paragraph 170, the Board declared, quote:
“The sustained and chronic use of involuntary overtime to address staff shortages is a violation of the collective agreement. Clearly, the agreement allows for involuntary overtime to be ordered in emergency situations or to ensure the completion of security duties, such as securing evidence. It may also legitimately be used to address short-term or unforeseen staff shortages when other alternatives for filling mandatory posts do not exist, which was in fact reflected in the employer’s reply to this policy grievance. However, the way involuntary overtime is being used [sic] Kent crosses the line into a mechanism for filling vacant shifts on a sustained and chronic basis.”
In its decision, the Board also made few suggestions worthy of mention:
- That CSC ought to improve the transparency of SDS;
- That CSC ought to improve the tracking of ordered overtime;
- That CSC ought to improve the sharing of overtime reports with the Union;
- That an obvious solution would be, in discussion with the local union, to resume the use of operational adjustments;
- That another solution would be to hire more Correctional Officers and to review the staffing formula.
Before concluding, UCCO-SACC-CSN wishes to share its absolute recognition of the work done by executive members of the local union at Kent Institution. The adjudicator notes repetitively the knowledge, understanding and credibility of the local president and vice-president. Their work was crucial in building this case.
The decision calls for the parties to sit down together and find alternatives to the ordering of overtime. UCCO-SACC-CSN sincerely hopes that management seizes this opportunity. Otherwise, we’ll be ready for the next round.