In March of this year, Sister Darlene Malayko (Executive Representative for Diversified/St. Albert members of Local 569) delivered a passionate and intelligent presentation to St. Albert City Council asking them to commit the budget to equip the City’s bus fleet with security doors. Darlene was subsequently interviewed in the local media about the same topic. Today, 6 months later, the first buses retrofitted with security doors are on the street.
The employer, Diversified Transportation Ltd, St. Albert Division, refused to participate with the union in pursuing these safety features for operators. Instead, they immediately issued discipline to Sister Malayko, citing the company’s policy prohibiting employees from talking to the media.
What kind of employer would discipline an employee for lobbying for equipment that would make its employees safer?
The Union immediately grieved the disciplinary action, arguing that Darlene was speaking on behalf of the union and had every right and responsibility to do so to represent her members fairly. The employer refused to budge on the grievance so the union advanced it to the next level and simultaneously filed a complaint of Unfair Labour Practice with the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
In the end, we achieved 4 things through mediation:
· Removal of the discipline from Darlene’s file
· Clear and signed recognition of the Union’s right to lobby on behalf of its members
· Clear recognition of Sister Malayko’s status as the elected representative for St. Albert’s members
· Creation of a Labour/Management Consultation Committee to meet monthly, hopefully, the beginning of a new and more respectful working relationship.
And, of course, St. Albert members now have the added protection of a security barrier. Brilliant success all around! Congratulations, Darlene Malayko. Your tenacity and commitment have served your members well.
ATU Local 569