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Real Pleadings: Janitors File Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against U. of Alberta Contractor

I noted a couple of days a story out of Edmonton involving a University of Alberta cleaning contractor named Bee Clean who is alleged by the Service Employees International Union of threatening and dismissing employees for trying to organize a union.  I noted how bizarre it was for the University to take the position that whether or not its contractors break the law is none of the University’s concern.

The SEIU has informed me of their dedicated website for this campaign, which you can find here. It contains news clips and video on the campaign, and (interestingly) a list of employees, with photos, and how much money they claim they are owed in unpaid wages, along with copies of the lawsuits filed by the employees to recover those wages.   I assume these workers are still Bee Clean employees. If so, this is an interesting strategy.  It puts the employees who support the union right out in the open for everyone to see.  A benefit of doing this is that if anything bad happens to the employees now, there will be no doubt that the employer was aware of their union support, which is one  of the key factual issues in illegal retaliation complaints.  Employers often claim they laid off the worker, or dismissed them, or cur their hours not because of the union organizing campaign, but for some other unrelated reason.   However, when the labour board learns that the employer knew about the employees’ support for an organizing campaign, this employer defence usually fails.  There is no doubt that Bee Clean knows which employees are union supporters now.

The website also includes copies of the Union’s Labour Board complaint, so I thought I would add it to my Real Pleadings series.

Here is the Union’s “Schedule A”, which explains what remedies they are seeking.

Here is the Schedule B, which describes the Union’s allegations of illegal behaviour.

I will keep an eye on this case and report back.

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