Canadian Labour Reporter

June 15, 2020

Canadian Labour Reporter is the trusted source of information for labour relations professionals. Published weekly, it features news, details on collective agreements and arbitration summaries to help you stay on top of the changing landscape.

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LABOUR FORCE NUMBERS Service time not considered same as inactive employment Operator rescinded previous decision to quit: Arbitrator operating a backhoe as part of a road work project. While dig- ging a hole, Santano struck an underground gas line. There was a high-pressure gas explo- sion that threw another worker to the ground. The road had to be closed while the damage was fixed. The next day, Santano was feeling emotional and felt re- sponsible for the incident, though YRB wasn't placing any blame. YRB asked him to com- plete an operator's report about the incident, which further upset him as he was afraid he would be disciplined. He declared loudly that he was going to quit his job. Santano then went to the lunchroom and wrote a letter of resignation providing two weeks' notice and left it on a table. He spoke to a couple of cowork- ers who convinced him to think about it some more before decid- ing if he was going to quit. The supervisor witnessed the outburst and went looking for him. He found the resignation letter in the lunchroom and sent it to YRB's general manager, say- ing that it had been "given" by Santano. The supervisor then tracked down Santano and called him into his office, saying Santano should think about it overnight and let him know in the morning if he changed his mind. However, Santano said he had already de- cided he was quitting. After the meeting, Santano encountered one of the cowork- ers who had tried to convince him to think about it and told him the matter was "taken care of " — which the coworker be- lieved meant he wasn't quitting. That evening, the general manager contacted Santano's su- pervisor to say he accepted San- tano's resignation. The following day, June 6, San- tano reported to work as usual but didn't speak to his supervi- sor. He was off the next day, but a union shop steward contacted him to find out what had hap- pened. Santano said he had told the supervisor he didn't want to resign, so the steward advised him to retrieve the resignation letter and destroy it. Santano's next day of work was June 10. He spoke to his supervi- sor and said, "Just so we are clear, I'm not quitting and I didn't quit that day." The supervisor was surprised and told Santano it was "out of his hands." Two days later, Santano went to see the general manager to tell him didn't want to resign. The general manager said he thought "it was a done deal" but would talk to the company president. However, YRB didn't rescind the resignation and the union filed a grievance. The arbitrator found that Santano didn't have "a true and continuing intention to quit." Santano wrote a letter of resig- nation — which was "generally sufficient" to show an objective intention to quit — but he didn't actually give it to YRB. The arbitrator noted that af- ter Santano wrote the letter and met with his supervisor, his co- workers believed he didn't intend to quit and was giving it some thought — an indication of San- tano's state of mind. This was reinforced by San- tano's statement to his supervi- sor that he didn't want to quit a few days later and to the general manager two days after that. The arbitrator determined that Santano did not intend to quit on the day he wrote the let- ter and didn't have a "continuing intention" to quit in the days that followed. Reference: Yellowhead Road and Bridge (Kootenay) and BCGEU. Wayne Moore — arbitrator. Clayton Jones for employer. Mike Fenton for union. April 15, 2020. 2020 CarswellBC 1170

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