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OCI Found Guilty of Violating Collective Agreement on Ocean Breaker

June 18, 2019

OCI Found Guilty of Violating Collective Agreement on Ocean Breaker

In January of 2018, FFAW-Unifor filed a grievance on behalf of workers on the Ocean Choice International (OCI) vessel, the Ocean Breaker, as a result of the company offering agreements to select individuals outside the collective agreement. On May 31 of this year, the arbitrator made the final decision finding that OCI indeed violated the collective agreement and that all individual agreements must be rescinded.

“There are 39 crew members on the Ocean Breaker seniority list, and it came to light seven of these individuals signed separate agreements with the company that provided benefits above and beyond what other crew members receive. We moved forward with this grievance because we cannot allow employers to operate in bad faith,” explains Greg Pretty, FFAW-Unifor Industrial/Retail/Offshore Director.

“We were pleased with the arbitrator’s decision to put a stop to the preferential treatment of a select few that was not afforded to the entire crew. We are all equally important to the operation of this vessel. A better solution would have been to offer everyone the same package,” says Graham Davis, who has been a crew member on the Ocean Breaker for 9 years.

The Ocean Breaker’s Collective Agreement is very clear that there are to be no individual agreements outside of the contract, and these under the table deals were hidden by the company for a number of years before they came to light. Prior to filing for arbitration, FFAW-Unifor provided OCI with the opportunity to increase pay and benefits to all crew members, however the company declined the offer.

“The preferential treatment being afforded to these select individuals was not only unfair to other crew members but was a blatant violation of the contract. It’s clear that it was the intent of OCI to weaken and destroy the collective bargaining relationship between Union and crew members on that vessel,” says Pretty.

The Arbitrator stated in their decision that, “The Employer has violated the Collective Agreement in making the individual payment arrangements with bargaining unit members… that the Employer shall rescind the individual agreements…the Employer shall refrain, cease and desist from entering into any such individual agreements with said persons or any other bargaining unit members.”


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