“When we entered into bargaining, several of our larger projects were put on hold. Collective bargaining is now becoming protracted. We are debating pushing the matter to interest arbitration, as contemplated by our collective agreement, but would like some advice on the potential risks. What type of results are we likely to achieve?”
“Collective agreement negotiations have broken down and interest arbitration has been scheduled. We have heard that some of our competitors may have recently concluded favourable agreements. Where can we get this information? How can we best use it for our own arbitration?”
While all parties typically benefit from negotiating the terms of a collective agreement, such negotiations are not always successful. For Crown employees, essential services and those in the health care industry, for example, the matter is often submitted to a process of binding interest arbitration where the parties prepare written proposals and present them to an arbitrator when bargaining breaks down. The arbitrator is then tasked with making the final determination on all outstanding terms and conditions of employment.
Our lawyers are well versed in such matters and routinely advise employers throughout the process. In particular, we source and analyze any relevant information pertaining to legislation, industry standards, recent interest arbitration awards by the same arbitrator or involving companies in similar industries, and other relevant agreements recently signed by the union. Using this information, our lawyers work with employers to develop appropriate strategies and draft written proposals, keeping in mind business objectives and the language of the existing collective agreement.
To achieve optimum results, we regularly represent employers at arbitration and have routinely been appointed to sit as Employer Nominees.