Unifor files appeal on behalf of EVAS members

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ST. JOHN’S-Unifor filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in response to its recent ruling regarding Exploits Valley Air Services (EVAS) members.

“We are continuing to pursue legal action to defend members of Unifor Local 2002 at EVAS airlines,” said Scott Doherty, Unifor Executive Assistant to the National President. “The company used the pandemic to strip pilots of their seniority and recall rights so that pilots re-hired as operations resumed would be at the bottom of the pay scale. The employer is taking advantage of the pandemic to make money, pure and simple.”

An arbitration award in March 2021 found that when the employer paid severance to pilots as required by the Canada Labour Code, their seniority and recall rights were extinguished. The arbitration took place in Halifax because COVID-19 travel restrictions at the time prevented the union and employer representatives and the arbitrator to travel from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.

Unifor filed a judicial review application seeking to have the arbitrator’s award set aside. The application was filed in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador because that is where the employer is based, that is where the collective agreement was made, and that is where the relevant employer actions occurred. EVAS filed an application to have the judicial review application dismissed on the grounds that the application should have been filed in a Nova Scotia court. The Supreme Court recently granted the employer’s application.

“This is an important collective agreement issue and the arbitrator’s decision should be overturned,” said Doherty. “No matter the jurisdiction, the company should not be allowed to skirt their obligations under the collective agreement.”

Unifor expects its appeal to the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador to be heard in the coming months.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries, or to arrange interviews via Skype or FaceTime, contact: Unifor National Communications Representative Shelley Amyotte @email or 902-717-7491