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Breakthrough at Old Dutch

November 10, 2009 — In a landmark ruling, the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) has determined that the province’s labour legislation interferes with the constitutional rights of workers, and has suspended the months-long lockout of UFCW Canada Local 401 members by Old Dutch Foods.

The Nov. 10 ruling establishes a Rand Formula type of union security for members there for the first time – something that could until now be achieved in Alberta only through bargaining – finding that Alberta’s current laws that make such an arrangement an "objective of bargaining" to be unconstitutional.

It gives the Alberta government 12 months to revise the province’s labour code.
Union security at the unit had been a major stumbling block in negotiations leading to the lockout, and the ALRB has told Old Dutch to accept the union’s last offer regarding union security, while sending members back to work for 30 days, during which time the union and the company are told to resume negotiations on other outstanding issues. The lockout officially ended after 227 days on the picket line, the second-longest dispute in Local 401’s history.

The full labour board decision is available online at www.alrb.gov.ab.ca.

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