Tucci and Hindle
- Before: P. Chodos
- Appearances: S. Lai, for the Complainant; A. Benedict, for the Respondent
- Decision Rendered: 1997-12-29
Unfair labour practices – Complaint under section 23 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act alleging a violation of subsection 10(2) of the Act – Duty of fair representation – Internal union matter – the complainant alleged the respondent, the President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), violated subsection 10(2) of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA) by refusing to pay the travel expenses (Mississauga to London) of a Mr. Lai, a union steward who the complainant wished to have as his representative on his appeal before a Public Service Commission (PSC) appeal board – the complainant had filed an appeal with the PSC with respect to a competition concerning positions located in Mississauga, the area in which both the complainant and Mr. Lai were employed – subsequently the PSC advised the complainant that his appeal would be heard in London, Ontario – a request by Mr. Lai for the PIPSC to pay his travel costs to London was denied by the local office of the PIPSC and by the respondent on appeal to the national office – the complainant alleged that the refusal to pay Mr. Lai's travel costs was made in an unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory manner and deprived him of his right to be represented by a union representative – the respondent claimed that at no time did he deny the complainant the right to be represented by a union representative, rather he refused to authorize expenses for the complainant's self-appointed representative – according to the respondent the responsibility to arrange representation for a PIPSC member rests with the bargaining agent, not with the individual member, and the complaint relates to an internal union matter that does not come within the scope of subsection 10(2) of the PSSRA – the Board found no cogent evidence that the PIPSC had any negative animus toward the complainant or Mr. Lai – at no point did the PIPSC, through any of its officers, advise the complainant or Mr. Lai that it would not provide representation – the fact that the complainant was ultimately represented by Mr. Lai at his own expense was not the result of the respondent's depriving the complainant of the benefit of representation by the PIPSC – the complainant wanted Mr. Lai to represent him and any consideration about alternative representation was clearly secondary – it is not unusual for unions to reserve the right to determine who will represent their members before third parties – the Board concluded that the authority of union stewards to represent members in third-party proceedings and the reimbursement of their travel expenses are matters respecting the internal management of the union – in the absence of evidence that such activity constituted a denial of representation which was exercised in bad faith or in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner, it is outside the purview of the Board's authority under subsection 10(2) of the PSSRA.