On Nov. 9 a number of GSU Local 1 (Viterra) members were prevented from going to work as a result of a severe snow storm that affected communities in south west and west central Saskatchewan.
In response to inquiries from union members who missed work as a result of the snow storm, GSU intervened with Viterra management to urge use of pressing necessity leave to cover absences from work. After a couple meetings, Viterra declined to consider the absences as falling under pressing necessity leave. GSU commenced grievance action and the matter has now passed through Step 2 of the grievance procedure under GSU’s collective agreement with Viterra.
“Step 3 is the final meeting in the grievance procedure where yet another effort will be made to convince management to change their stance,” said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. “If the situation doesn’t change at Step 3, the next decision is whether to send the grievance to arbitration by a neutral arbitrator.”
“Although this grievance has moved slowly it is still better than the alternative of accepting the employer’s word as final,“ Wagner said. “Amongst many other advantages, being unionized means employees get to challenge, question, and test their employer’s response to real life situations.”
“While not every challenge or grievance is successful, the net impact is to make the workplace a little more democratic and highlight issues that need to be addressed at the agreement renewal bargaining table,” said Wagner.
Further updates will follow.