Employers must provide union with e-mail addresses, BC LRB rules

In Viking Air v. CAW B87/2012 a reconsideration panel chaired overturned an original decision that had ruled the employer did not have to provide the union with its members' e-mail addresses. In the original decision Vice-Chair Topalian concluded that because the employer had already provided the members' addresses and telephone numbers and because the union could ask its members directly for their e-mail address, the e-mail addresses were not necessary for the union to meet its representational obligations under the Labour Code.

The reconsideration panel found that this "minimally adequate or bare necessity" approach was inconsistent with the Board's jurisprudence. The Board confirmed that the test set out in P. Sun’s Enterprises (Vancouver) Ltd., BCLRB No. B388/2003(http://www.lrb.bc.ca/decisions/B388$2003.pdf ) should be "interpreted and applied broadly enough to facilitate efficient communications between a union and the employees in its bargaining unit."

The test developed by the Board in P. Sun's and other cases contains the following questions:

1. does the employer have a sound business reason for its refusal to provide
the information;
2. can the information be easily supplied; and
3. does the union need the information in order to fulfill its statutory obligations to represent the employees in the bargaining unit.

The decision can be found at http://www.lrb.bc.ca/decisions/B087$2012.pdf.