The decision of the Final Offer Selection Arbitrator in September 2020 was appealed by Sobeys to the Labour Relations Board. The Arbitrator found that Sobeys offer on whether it could introduce third party kiosks in Local 247 jurisdiction was permissible, but only if it did not impact jobs or work of Local 247 members. Arbitrator Hall determined that:
The assurances provided by the Employer’s counsel during the hearing regarding the third party kiosk LOU have been pivotal to my determination. Among other points, counsel advised that the Employer is hoping to introduce “new and different opportunities” for attracting customers…Further, the kiosks will not replace the work of the bargaining unit because those opportunities “are not covered by the skill set of [Local] 247 employees”.
The Employer then appealed that ruling to the Labour Relations Board saying arguing that the arbitrator could not make such a decision because it would modify the written argument the Employer made prior to the hearing.
However, on April 29, 2021, the Labour Board dismissed Sobeys’ appeal and confirmed the decision of the arbitrator which was decided precisely on that “pivotal” determination of the arbitrator. Specifically, the arbitrator’s decision only permits the introduction of third party kiosks if they do not have the effect of replacing bargaining unit work.
“This is a good decision of the Labour Relations Board” stated Anthony Glavin, UFCW Local 247 lead legal counsel in the proceedings. “The Board has upheld the arbitrator’s decision that if Sobey’s introduces third party kiosks into its stores it can only do so if it has no impact on existing Local 247 work”.
Sobeys does have a right of further reconsideration, however, it is unlikely that it will seek to take a second appeal of the arbitrator’s decision.