“The Arc Bends Increasingly Towards Workplace Justice” – reply to government appeal of PSSA decision

The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS – of which UMFA is a member) has filed a reply to the Government’s appeal of the PSSA decision. You may remember that the court of Qeen’s Bench declared the PSSA not only unlawful, but “draconian”.

In the reply to the appeal, counsel for the PDPS asserts that the Court of Queen’s bench arrived at the correct decision based on the findings of the Labour Board in regard to UMFA’s 2016 unfair labour practice complaint.

They also assert that “the trial Judge in this case had the benefit of an extensive body of evidence, which provided important context for applying the s. 2(d) [the Charter right to freedom of association] test. The intimate familiarity she obtained as a result should not be lightly ignored.”

This refers to the hundreds of pages of affidavits submitted by Manitoba’s unions and hours of testimony provided by their officers and staff, including UMFA’s past-president Mark Hudson.

By contrast, the government introduced almost no evidence to support its position.

Referring to seminal decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), the PDPS argues that “The purpose of freedom of association is to enable individuals, who are vulnerable on their own, to come together to overcome power imbalances and participate more equally and effectively in society. In the labour context, collective bargaining has historically helped workers overcome the inherent inequality in the employment relationship, allowing them to participate in determining their employment terms instead of having to accept what their employer chooses to give them.”

Counsel also argues that the Trial judge did not err in matters of law.

Read the full decision here.