A LABOUR Relations Board (LRB) hearing into layoff notices issued to some Northwest Community College (NWCC) instructors ended today.
It began Tuesday morning in Terrace and finished this afternoon, according to Cindy Oliver, president of the Federation of Post Secondary Educators of B.C. (FPSE).
“Arbitrator just came down,” said Oliver just after 4 p.m. today. “It looks very good.”
LRB vice-chair Ken Saunders came to Terrace this week to mediate a solution between NWCC and the Academic Workers Union (AWU), FPSE’s Terrace local. The union challenged NWCC after it issued layoff notices to instructors in preparation for its coming task of curing a deficit estimated to be between $1.6 to $2 million.
The college first issues layoff notices to all instructors and has since reported that secondary notices to the majority of those being laid off have been issued, although the full scope won’t be known until April.
College officials have said they need to cut the equivalent of approximately 32 full-time positions. NWCC employs more than 600 people whose jobs equal about 276 full-time positions.
“We took exception to the employer’s way of handling layoffs and to jumping the gun,” said Oliver. “We spent a lot of time briefing the mediator about the various clauses and language in our collective agreement.”
Prior to the hearing’s end, Oliver said whatever decision is made will have a significant impact.
And while details of today’s LRB decision have yet to be released, Oliver has since said what she does know represents “a huge victory” for the Union.
“We are still filtering through the details,” said Oliver, adding she won’t comment to specifics until reviewing the decision carefully.
When asked if layoffs would be stopped as the union had wanted, Oliver responded “not necessarily.”
“The victory is in the process of it,” she said.
For updates, please check terracestandard.com.