- September 14, 2021
- Posted by: Nicholas Fitch
(1) offers of early retirement made available to nursing staff in order of seniority; (2) in the event of the dismissal of a nurse within thirty days of receipt of the notice of dismissal, a separation indemnity of two weeks` salary for each year of service up to a maximum limit of 16 weeks` salary3;3. in the event of the resignation of a nurse upon receipt of the dismissal, a separation allowance of four weeks` salary. The arbitrator found that the early retirement and separation benefits provided for in Article 10.14 were available only if the dismissals were consequent on integration. Dismissals for other reasons, such as in this case, triggered the requirements of Article 10.09, but not those of Article 10.14. Since the employer had provided the benefit opportunities required by section 10.09, there was no violation of the collective agreement in the circumstances and the remedy was dismissed. The collective agreement between the Ontario Nurses` Association (ONA) and St. Michael`s Hospital (the hospital) also covers most unionized nurses in the province. It asks hospitals to present a series of performance options to nurses subject to long-term dismissals. Section 10.09 of the collective agreement sets out the possibilities available to these nurses: arbitrator Reilly`s decision gives hospital employers some optimism about the dismissal provisions of the ONA collective agreement and the corresponding obligations regarding the payment of old-age allowance and separation.
Prior to Arbitrator Reilly`s decision, the arbitrators consistently decided that a nurse was entitled to an old-age and/or separation allowance after the ona provisions were triggered, even if vacancies existed elsewhere in the hospital concerned. The resulting costs to hospitals have been significant. Article 10.14 refers further to the specific services enjoyed by nurses licensed as a result of integrations. These advantages include: Arbitrator Reilly found that the case-law cited by the ONA was of no use in the present case. In each arbitration submitted by the ONA, the parties were grouped together to determine whether workers were entitled to offers of retirement options in accordance with the language referred to in Article 10.14. In each of these cases, there was little information on the reasons for the dismissals. The application of Article 10.14 is neither contested nor subject to the immediate attention of the arbitrator. None of the cases addressed the key question in this case: when will workers be entitled to Article 10.14? Due to the absence of an arbitration award for the purposes of Section 10.14, Arbitrator Reilly had to base his decision on an interpretation of the relevant provisions of the collective agreement.
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