Lawtons loses fight to keep labour board decision from going public
Judge details Lawtons numerous legal motions made during dispute with union
Lawtons Drug Stores was unsparing in its use of the Nova Scotia court system during negotiations with a union at one of its Halifax locations, court documents show.
Last week, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from Lawtons, which was trying to prevent the Nova Scotia Labour Board from issuing full reasons for a decision it made, during negotiations, that was highly critical of the company.
Justice Joshua Arnold detailed what he called "the astonishing history" of the dispute between Lawtons and the union.
Lawtons slammed in labour board decision
In June 2014, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada, Local 864, certified Lawtons staff at Scotia Square in downtown Halifax. It was the first ever Lawtons retail location to be unionized.
In February 2015, the union applied to the labour board for settlement of a first collective agreement.
In March, The Nova Scotia Labour Board released a decision that contained an unflattering summation of Lawton's actions.
The board found the collective bargaining process was stalled because Lawton's had "adopted uncompromising positions with respect to the negotiation of wages, and holidays and other leaves, without reasonable justification."
It directed Lawtons and the union to resume collective bargaining with Local 864 with the help of a conciliator and said it would release "full reasons" at a later date.
That set off a flurry of legal filings to prevent the full reasons from being released, with Lawtons arguing the information would cause the company "irreparable harm."
That court process continued up until last week when Arnold dismissed the appeal.
"I am satisfied that the Board's discretion to issue later reasons for its bottom-line decision was exercised reasonably. The Board's decision was a reasonable outcome of the hearing," he said.
A labour board employee said the long version of the board's decision isn't yet available to the public. No one from the union was available to comment on the decision.
The union did ratify its first contract in April 2015. It included wage-scale increases of 30 cents per hour and upwards as well as an additional paid holiday, Heritage Day, for all bargaining unit members.