Successful Settlement Reached in Important Grievance

This complex case began in April 2013, when UBC compelled an employee with 24 years of service to sign away their entitlement to notice (i.e. severance or working notice) upon termination, in exchange for $5. The so called “$5 deals” the University started making with our members in 2012, were deeply offensive to AAPS and caused considerable damage to an already frayed relationship. The offensive premise to UBC’s original position was that it had the lawful and/or contractual right to negotiate with our members, for terms and conditions less than they were entitled to in the ACTE, so long as the member received “fresh consideration”— and that “fresh consideration” was the aforementioned $5. Often, in these types of cases, the member is in a leveraged and very vulnerable position, and feels forced or compelled to sign away their rights under the ACTE, in order to maintain ongoing employment at UBC. Our fear was that if we let such a case stand, whenever UBC felt there was a financial or other impediment to paying out proper and contractual notice under the ACTE, they could rely on these so called “$5 deals” to strip long service members of their proper notice entitlements.

For obvious reasons AAPS filed a grievance on this issue, and the arbitration hearing began in February 2014, with three days of hearings, and four further days of hearings in June of this year. The testimony and cross examination was very adversarial. However I am delighted to inform you, that on Monday November 3, 2014, we signed a full and complete settlement of the grievance on all outstanding issues. As noted, this grievance has been a bitter and divisive dispute, however, last week, when UBC was scheduled to start its case and call its witnesses under oath to rebut AAPS’ evidence, it became clear that they were interested in serious and comprehensive settlement discussions.

AAPS has agreed not to publicize or disseminate any information about the specific terms of the settlement with regard to our individual member involved except as to state “…that the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

However, what was also resolved by this settlement and which is not prevented from full disclosure, is a historic victory for AAPS and far exceeds what we would have, in all likelihood, received in an award from an arbitrator in a best case scenario. The broad outline of the terms of that agreement is as follows:

  • UBC agrees in writing that there will no longer be any more deals for “fresh consideration” (i.e. no more $5 deals).
  • Article 1.2.2 of the ACTE states:

The parties agree that employees are entitled, at a minimum, to the standard set out in this Agreement.  Individual agreements providing different terms and conditions than in this Agreement shall be provided to AAPS prior to being finalized.

  • UBC agrees in writing that the phrase “…different terms and conditions…,” can only mean terms and conditions that are the same or greater than those set out in the ACTE and not less.
  • UBC agrees in writing to contact AAPS and ensure the member is aware of their right to representation and consultation with a representative of AAPS, prior to any “substantive negotiations” taking place for potentially different terms and conditions.
  • AAPS and UBC have agreed to an expedited arbitration process where there is a disagreement between them as to whether the different terms and conditions UBC are offering, are the same or greater than, or less than those set out in the ACTE. The process is designed to find a resolution quickly and efficiently within specific time frames.

This is a clear and significant victory for AAPS’ members. It ensures that UBC is obliged to honour the terms and conditions of the ACTE, and can only enter into agreements with our members for the same or greater terms than are set out in the ACTE. If you are ever approached by UBC HR to enter into terms and conditions different than those set out in the ACTE, please do not hesitate to contact the AAPS Office immediately to schedule an appointment so that we may advise you of your rights under the ACTE.