Cambridge company ordered to pay workers for National Truth and Reconciliation Day

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CAMBRIDGE – A Cambridge company violated collective agreement with unionized workers by failing to recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day as a paid public holiday, an arbitrator has ruled.

The arbitrator this week ordered National Grocers Co. Ltd. to compensate “all affected employees for any loss resulting from this violation”.

The company, a division of Loblaw Companies Ltd., operates a food distribution warehouse on Fountain Street North. The union, United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1006A, represents over 900 workers.

The contract between National Grocers and the union recognizes 10 statutory holidays and states that if the federal or provincial government declares another “statutory holiday”, the company will recognize it as a paid holiday.

The federal law of June 3 created the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, celebrated on September 30.

National Grocers told the union it does not recognize it as a paid holiday. The union filed a grievance.

The company rejected the grievance and it went to arbitration.

“The company did not grant bargaining unit members leave and time off pay on National Truth and Reconciliation Day,” Arbitrator Norm Jesin wrote in his ruling. public Tuesday.

National Grocers said the day was declared a “general holiday” – not a “legal holiday”.

“Statutory holidays listed as statutory holidays under the Canada Labor Code are designated as statutory holidays,” Jesin said.

“According to the employer, (the contract) only includes federal public holidays when they are expressly declared as public holidays in accordance with public holiday law.”

The company noted that federal public holidays law designates only three public holidays: Victoria Day, Canada Day and Remembrance Day.

The union argued that the wording of the contract “was never intended to incorporate only the new public holidays designated as public holidays under the Public Holidays Act,” Jesin said.

The term “legal holiday” simply refers to holidays permitted by law, which would include the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the union said.

Jesin agreed with the union that the wording of the contract “is designed to add any statutory holiday that is legally permitted as a holiday paid by the federal or provincial government.”

“I am determined that the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation should have been recognized as a paid holiday (…) and that the employer’s failure to do so constituted a violation of the collective agreement”, did he declare.

Jesin said he would “determine the amount” of compensation and “any other questions that may arise regarding the implementation of that compensation.”

National Truth and Reconciliation Day honors “lost children and residential school survivors, their families and communities,” the federal government says on its website.

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