Notice of Termination
Northern Timber Company together with the Union is committed to the safety and wellbeing of the employees. As such, due to this aspect, the company and the union issues a joint agreement to the employees concerning the use or the possession of illegal drugs or alcohol on the company property. This joint announcement was in the form of the reminder that the illegal drugs and the alcohol were not permitted on the company property, including the residences of the employees (Suffield, 2012). As such, the collective agreement of the company and the union is that the possession or the use of the illegal drugs and alcohol on the company property is lead for dismissal.
A copy of this announcement was provided to each of the employees including the signing of an acknowledgment of the receipt of the statement. As one of our employees, Mr. Bradford, you signed the acknowledgment suggesting that you had received the statement and consented to the collective agreement of the company and the union. Nevertheless, it came to our attention that you violated the collective agreement and the policy when you admitted to having used marijuana in company premises. That is, after the reports from the security guard and the health and safety officer suggest that you possessed and used illegal drugs on company property as well as in your residence. For this reason, we have decided to terminate our cooperation and your contract with this company. This termination occurs immediately with respect and reference to our policy and collective agreement. We appreciate your efforts to this company and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors (Suffield, 2012).
Union Steward’s Procedure
Since Bradford approached the Union through me, the Union Steward, this aspect is considered a grievance presented by the employee to the Union concerning the termination of the contract and the grievance process will have to be initiated. Since the process could challenge or undermine the management decisions of the Northern Timber Company, it has the capacity to cause problems for the company and its management. As such, the union will initiate the procedure of the grievance through the preparation of a grievance and the submission of the grievance to the representatives of the employer, which in this case is the management of the Northern Timber Company (Suffield, 2012). As the Union Steward, I will complete and fill in particulars of the pre-printed forms of grievance, which contain information that the union may use.
After the filing of the grievance, there could be the initiation of informal discussions to attempt to resolve the issue in addition to the collective agreement’s prescribed meetings. After the grievance is submitted to the arbitration process, further attempts will be made to avoid the arbitration as well as settle the conflict or dispute (Beik, 2005). The success and the extent of the attempts of resolving the dispute prior to the hearing of the arbitration will be related to the existent relationship between the conflicting parties. If the relationship is proven cooperative, more attempts will be made to settle before the arbitration (Suffield, 2012). In this situation, the union will own or will exercise control and or ownership of the grievance, especially subject to the fair representation duty. As such, it will be up to the union, and not Bradford or the employee to make the decisions whether to file the grievance or the measures for resolving it.
Argument that could be made to Arbitrator to Uphold the Termination
Interest arbitration could be presented to the arbitrator to uphold the termination. Under this type of arbitration, the parties, which in this case would include the union and the company, cannot agree on the collective agreement terms. That is, if the union decides to submit the grievances to the arbitrator for the nullification of the termination, it would be a form of disagreement. For this reason, the company as well as the union will have to present evidence as well as submissions concerning the contents of the agreement (Suffield, 2012). In this case, as the manager responsible for the file, I suggest that the termination be upheld.
First, the collective agreement of the Northern Timber Company and the Union spelt out clearly the regulations and the policy of the company concerning the use and the possession of illegal drugs and alcohol in the company premises as well as the residences of the employees. As such, by using these substances, Bradford violated the policy and the collective agreement. Second, the agreement also spells out that employees found in the possession or the use of the illegal drugs or alcohol are eligible for immediate termination of the employment contract. As such, the actions leading to the termination were in line with the policy and collective agreement and should thus be upheld. Moreover, Bradford had knowledge of the collective agreement, evidenced by the signing of the acknowledgment that outlined the statement concerning the agreement. Moreover, the employee also violated the zero-tolerance policy, the safety and the health risks. For this reason, the termination should stand (Suffield, 2012).
Argument that could be made to the Arbitrator to have Bradford Reinstated
Considering the termination of Bradford, the rights or grievance arbitration should be employed in his reinstating. According this arbitration, if an employee is discharged, just as Bradford was, he should file the grievance challenging the allegations concerning the violation of the collective agreement. After the notice of the termination, the management team of the company reviewed the circumstance and found out that the employee had not previously been involved in safety and health violations or misconduct, which suggests that the company, which is the employer, did not act in just cause. In addition, the employer had sought the medication and treatment for his use of marijuana and had even joined the Narcotics Anonymous (Suffield, 2012). This aspect shows the devotion and the need by the employee to abstain from the substance abuse. For this reason, under the fair representation of the employee and the required just cause from the company, Bradford should be reinstated (Lee, 2011). In addition, Bradford had stayed clean and abstained from the use of marijuana for the past ten days and has requested for the reconsideration of the termination. For this reason, given the efforts of the employee in considering the shift and the change in his behavior for the betterment of his life, the management of the Northern Timber Company should act in just cause and reinstate him.
Assuming I am the arbitrator in this situation, the decision would be based on a variety of aspects. First, the reason for the development of the collective agreement by the company and the union is of great significance. Various aspects of safety and health concerns for the employees influenced the reason for the formation of the agreement. First, previously, an employee had been killed while in operation after taking alcohol the night prior to the accident. Second, another employee, a timber cutter had also been injured severely and the investigations indicated that the employee had been under the influence of marijuana. Based on these reasons, it is evident that the collective agreement was an avenue by the company and the union to act in just cause for the safety and the health of the employees (Suffield, 2012). As such, the termination would stand based on this ground.
Second, the employee had knowledge of the experiences and the safety issues and accidents caused by the employees who had been under the influence of the illegal drugs and alcohol. The knowledge of the same is based off the concept that the he had signed the acknowledgment of the statement of the announcement about the issues. For this reason, at the time of the receipt of the notice of termination, the employee had the full knowledge of the agreement and the policy as well. As such, the actions of the employee were in bad faith and against the legislations (Suffield, 2012). Therefore, for this reason, the termination should stand. Last, the provisions of the collective agreement suggest that the use or the possession of the illegal drugs and alcohol by the employees on the premises of the company or in their residences is a factor for the immediate termination. As such, the company acted in just cause to terminate the contract for the employee, which should stand (Walton, Cutcher-gershenfeld, & Mckersie, 2009).
Beik, M. A. (2005). Labor relations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Lee, G. (2011). Labor relations. New York: Avalon Books.
Suffield, L. (2012). Administrations of the Collective Agreement. In A. Templer (Ed.),Labour relations (3rd ed.). Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Walton, R., Cutcher-gershenfeld, J., & Mckersie, R. (2009). Strategic Negotiations: A Theory of Change in Labor-Management Relations.