BCH & Powertech – Arbitration Update – COVID 19 Vaccine Mandate Policy Grievance
May 20, 2022
To: All MoveUP members at BCH & Powertech
We are writing to provide an update about the grievance process related to your employer’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for those who have elected, at this time, not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
As you are aware, our union’s argument has been that the vast majority and possibly all of the work positions in question here could be effectively performed remotely or in a manner that is otherwise safe, and thus that the Employer’s mandatory vaccination policy should be deemed unreasonable. The employer has taken the position that it is entitled to hold members out of work whether or not they are able to perform their work safely on the basis of the vaccination policy and its right to decide how and where work can be performed.
We have appreciated members’ support in providing their input and evidence in preparation for a hearing in this matter. Based on the nature of the evidence and arguments, it became clear that it would be faster and more efficient to address some of the legal issues in the case by written submissions, with any in-person testimony taking place on June 23- 24, 2022.
Barring any further changes after submissions, we expect a decision to be rendered in July, with the arbitrator remaining seized to address outstanding issues, if any, in September. The Parties are currently in the process of scheduling September dates to ensure that they are available if they are needed.
We will provide further updates when we have them and are working diligently towards a resolution. As we have throughout the pandemic, we recognize that the decision of whether or not to get vaccinated is a personal one and continue to encourage all our members to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines are safe and the most effective way to combat the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure that you, your colleagues, and your loved ones remain safe. The outcome of the grievance is also not certain, and vaccination is the clearest way to maintain your employment if that is a priority.
Javed Saheb, Union Representative