A labour arbitrator has ruled that the CBC was wrong in distributing only part of a colossal pension surplus to employees and retirees in 2001.
In a 131-page ruling, arbitrator Denis Nadeau states that the Corporation erred by not following the recommendation of the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits, which had made a proposal to distribute the money equitably. You may recall that the actual surplus amount was over 1 billion dollars; of the $336 million of the surplus that was available to employees and retirees, the Corporation distributed only $134 million.
All of the CBC’s unions filed grievances in the fall of 2000 and agreed that whichever union was able to have the case heard quickly by a well-respected arbitrator would get to “carry the ball”. In this case, it was the Syndicat canadien de la function publique (SCFP) who took the lead, with Montreal lawyer Pierre Grenier as counsel. The Canadian Media Guild was an interested party in the case, and the Guild’s senior staff representative Dan Oldfield was a key witness.
It is true that the Corporation failed to abide by the collective agreement when it acted unilaterally and ignored the recommendations of the CCSB, but this does not necessarily mean that the CBC will have to pay out the remaining $202 million? so don’t go out and buy yourself a Harley just yet. Additional hearings will be held within the next few months to determine what sort of financial and/or other remedy will come from this ruling. The most important element of this case was to remind the Corporation that the CCSB exists for a reason, that the Corporation has to follow the collective agreement, and that CBC management does not have the right to make unilateral decisions about any surplus in our pension plan.
We will continue to keep you posted on further developments on this matter. For more information, please contact Dan Oldfield at email@example.com or Keith Maskell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Guild office at 1-800-465-4149 or 416-591-5333.