Willowbrook Care Centre runs several long-term and nursing care centres in a major Canadian metropolitan area. The largest centre has eight care units with each unit employ-ing between 40–60 full-and part-time nursing and atten-dant care staff. The attendant care and clerical staff on each unit are represented by the Allied Nursing Care (ANC) union. ANC gained certification status at all municipal facilities in 2017. Willowbrook has a centralized human resources department that includes a full-time labour rela-tions specialist. Each care home has either a full-time or part-time HR consultant to service a wide range of program-ming and consultation needs at their site. The current collective agreement between the employer and union contains specific scheduling lan-guage that deals with timelines when work and vacation schedules are to be posted on each care unit in each facility. Willowbrook has an organization-wide schedul-ing software system, which is utilized by each facility. Unit managers and a unit clerk are responsible for follow-ing collective agreement requirements when preparing and posting unit schedules for all staff. Article 12.01 in the current union contract states: All work and vacation schedules for full time and part time bargaining unit members shall be posted on the unit 45 days in advance. Any anticipated delay in meet-ing this posting deadline will be communicated to the union vice-president and the chief steward by the human resources department or the particular unit manager where the delay is anticipated. In early April 2018, Noor Mahood, nursing unit man-ager at Willowbrook’s downtown location, was finishing up a plethora of last-minute details in anticipation of start-ing her first maternity leave at the end of the week. She felt confident that all would be fine during her leave, as Ellen Baxter, a competent unit manager from a neighbour-ing floor, would be covering her unit for the first eight weeks of Mahood’s leave. A key task of posting summer vacation schedules for unit staff was due the following Monday, but again Noor was confident that her schedul-ing clerk, Nadia Zeich, had things under control. On Tuesday of the following week, Beth Summers, ANC steward on Mahood’s unit, stopped by Nadia Zeich’s work station to ask why there was a delay in post-ing the summer vacation schedule for unit staff. A new face was sitting at Nadia’s desk. This temp replacement told Summers that the regular unit clerk had been involved in a car accident on the weekend and would be off until sometime next week. The temp knew nothing about scheduling work. Summers then called Ellen Baxter only to hear on the unit manager’s voice mail that Baxter was out of the office that day and would be away for the remainder of the week at a nursing conference in another city. Summers then tried on three occasions that day to speak with the HR generalist who served their location but was unsuccessful in getting any reply. Finally, Summers called the chief steward, Li Liang, who agreed to meet with her at the end of the shift to discuss what should be done. Summers had already received numerous e-mails and face-to-face questions from unit staff who were eager to know if their vacation requests would be granted. At their meeting, Liang told Summers that the union had been increasingly frustrated with such scheduling gaps. The union local’s grievance committee had recently met to discuss problem areas with the collective agree-ment. Liang had heard of similar frustrations last year regarding vacation scheduling, although Willowbrook’s labour relations specialist had promised improvement in coming year. Liang was starting to believe this was another example of “empty promises” on the part of Willowbrook’s management. She felt it was time for action by Local #283!
1. Assume you are Li Liang. What immediate action would you take to resolve this scheduling issue on this particular nursing unit?
2. If part of your strategy in Question 1 is to file a griev-ance with management, draft a grievance statement and your proposed desired remedy to the current situation. Share your prepared wording with other students.
3. Given the growing frustration dating back to the pre-vious year on the part of Liang and the union with delays by management in posting staff schedules, would you suggest that Local 283 address this matter through a policy grievance focusing on the contract’s management rights clause? Explain why or why not.