Communication updates regarding jurisdictional issues will be posted here.
What is a Jurisdictional Review?
A jurisdictional review is a systematic process designed to assess whether or not new or management or out-of-scope positions are properly excluded or included. The review could also encompass existing positions if they have not been properly reviewed and agreed to as a management or out-of-scope exclusion by the parties.
Why is a position excluded or included?
A person is excluded from being an “employee” if they meet one of four Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) criteria. A position can be excluded, where the person: (1) exercises managerial functions (i.e. supervise, hire, fire, discipline, appraise, etc.), or (2) is employed in a confidential capacity in matters relating to labour relations, or (3) is involved in matters of (corporate) policy or the running of the organization may be excluded, if they exercise “independent” decision-making responsibilities that impact the employment relationship, or (4) is a designated professional (i.e. Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer, and Engineer) as identified in the Alberta Labour Relations Code. At least one of these criteria must be met.
Are all “supervisors” excluded?
Supervising others does not automatically mean a person has managerial responsibilities. The person must exercise effective control over the employees they supervise. At minimum, they must make effective recommendations that “materially” affect the economic lives of employees. The exclusion of a position with supervisory responsibilities is unlikely to occur, if the supervisor is buried too deep within the organization.
When a person is excluded because they are directly involved in matters of (corporate) policy, what criteria is used to make the decision to exclude the position from the Union?
The decision to exclude based on being responsible for making “corporate policy decisions” is based upon whether or not they exercise “independent” decision-making responsibilities that impact the employment relationship.
What criterion is not considered in the decision to exclude a position?
Criteria, such as, Complexity of the Work, Education Required, Experience Required, Technical Skills, Appraising or ‘Watch-Dogging’ the work of contractors or outside suppliers, Professional Status (unless specifically excluded by legislation), So-Called Importance (of the position or person), Financial Impact of Error, Operational Impact of Error, Occasional or Partial Performance of Management Tasks, Jurisdiction of Other Positions, One-on-One Supervision, and Reporting Relationship are not considered in decisions to exclude a position from union membership.
Reporting to a senior executive is not sufficient reason for exclusion, unless it is warranted by the position’s primary functions and criteria for exclusion is satisfied. However, if a manager is placed too many levels below the CEO, it is unlikely to be excluded. It is generally expected that ‘true’ management responsibilities become more diluted with each lower position level in an organization. Positions are typically not considered to be management if they are 4 or more levels below the CEO (i.e. City Manager, President) and they are not required to manage a team or teams.
What information is included in the exclusion request?
The assigned Labour Relations Officer (LRO) will work with the excluded position’s Director to build the documentation required to support the request, including:
- An approved job description outlining the accountabilities of the position;
- An organization chart showing topic position, peers, subordinates, immediate supervisor and excluded Director;
- Role allocation and target salary rate within the Management Job Evaluation Framework;
- An exclusion rationale (including reasons why the position should be excluded);
- Job description of supervisor’s position (unless reporting to an Assistant City Manager or City Manager); and
- Position number(s).
Who can request an exclusion review?
Management or the Union may initiate an exclusion request in accordance with Addendum #2 of the CSU 52 Collective Agreement with the City of Edmonton. The request is typically sent to the City’s (or Union’s) Director, Labour Relations. Either party to the proceedings can make the decision to proceed to a formal ALRB hearing.
The City’s Labour Relations Branch will work with the line Branch Manager or Director to prepare the business case for the exclusion. Once the business case demonstrates the defined criteria for exclusion are identified, the Exclusion Advisor will submit the request to the appropriate bargaining unit for their approval. The Labour Relations Officer will contact the manager:
- If further information is required, or
- Advise whether the request has been approved, or
- Discuss next steps if the request has been denied.
If Union denies the exclusion request, the Manager has the following options:
- Withdraw the request and continue with a bargaining unit position
- Participate in a case conference call with the Labour Relations Officer (advisor) and the Union Labour Relations Officer (advocate) to provide detailed information, such as specific work examples
If the manager is still unsuccessful at this stage the options are again to withdraw the request or proceed with a Joint Exclusion Committee meeting to make a presentation to the Union Committee members. The final recourse is to proceed for a formal arbitration before the ALRB.
What is the history of exclusions between the City and the Union (i.e. CSU 52)?
The City of Edmonton and the Union have a long history of discussing and negotiating the inclusion or exclusion of jobs. Typically, the union has challenged the jurisdiction of a management or out-of-scope position (or person), where there is evidence the position should be included within the scope of the union (i.e. CSU 52). The largest review occurred during the period 1980-1981, where the City and the union agreed to the inclusion of 312 management positions. The Union challenged these positions because of its belief the City was unilaterally allocating “union” positions into excluded Technical Officer 1 and 2 classifications.
Over the past 4 decades, the City has updated its management classification systems, but there have been no processes or procedures developed and implemented which would ensure all non-management positions are allocated within the scope of the Union. An attempt to develop an appropriate process and procedure occurred in 2014-2015, in conjunction with the Office of the City Clerk and the HR Branch. The test process included a comprehensive questionnaire. However, the process and procedure was never finalized.
What legislation defines the criteria for exclusion?
The Alberta Labour Relations Code (see http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/l01.pdf ) defines the criteria and rules for labour relations within the Province. The legislation is managed by the Alberta Labour Relations Board (see http://www.alrb.gov.ab.ca). The Board’s Information Bulletin #22 (Determinations) identifies the criteria to exclude a position from a Union and collective bargaining. Please see the following website: http://www.alrb.gov.ab.ca/bulletins/22bulletin.pdf.