Arbitration award for our members at Telus working in Concierge positions

December 19, 2018 - We know that our members at Telus that worked in Concierge positions have been patiently waiting to hear the outcome of grievances filed in 2013 and 2014.

These grievances concerned Telus’ decision to pay Concierge agents at Client Care Representative IV (CCR IV) wages, rather than at Loyalty and Retention Representative (L&R Rep) wages, which are higher. The Union alleged that Concierge work should have been paid at L&R wages due to the greater commonality between Concierge and L&R work.

Your Local Union took these grievances forward, and an arbitration was convened over 18 days throughout 2016 and 2017. We received the arbitration award on Friday, December 14, 2018, and we are very pleased to announce that the arbitrator has ruled in the Union’s favour:

“The circumstances warrant a determination upholding the grievances, a declaration that the Employer has violated Article 1.02 of the Collective Agreement by failing to place the Concierge agent job within the same Appendix and Wage Schedule as the L&R Rep job title based on a commonality of duties, and an order for all employees who worked as Concierge agents to be compensated for their loss. It is so ordered.”

Some excerpts of the award are included below, and you can read the full arbitration award here.

We expect it will take some time to calculate wages owed to these agents, but will endeavour to make it happen expeditiously.

We would like to thank everyone who worked so diligently on this case.

In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944

Excerpts from the Award:

“The evidence in the present case overwhelmingly supports a determination that the call centre agent position in Concierge constitutes a new job under Article 1.02 that should have triggered a review under Article A21.07 and placement ‘within the appropriate Appendix and Wage Schedule based on a commonality of duties.’” (p.29)

“A party exercising its discretion under a Collective Agreement must not act in a manner that is in bad faith, arbitrary, discriminatory or otherwise unreasonable, and the Employer violated this obligation in making a decision not to properly assess the Concierge agent job and then classify it as a CCR IV without any assessment of commonality of duties under Article 1.02.” (p.37)

“The effect of <Classification Consultant> Ms. Paquette’s absence as a witness regarding the rationale for classifying the Concierge agent as CCR IV is compounded by the complete absence of notes from participants of key meetings the Employer held regarding pay for employees in both the High Value and Concierge queues that would shed light on the factors considered in determining the classifications for those jobs.” (p.36)

“While Concierge agents do not receive L&R queue overflow calls, as High Value agents did previously, they possess the tools to perform that work, and they do so in relation to the clients they serve in significant amounts as revealed by the statistics. The discretion exercised by, and the tools available to, the Concierge agent are more akin to those associated with the L&R Rep as opposed to the CCR IV, and Concierge agent perform the higher-level duties at a rate much more common with agents on the High Value and L&R queues as opposed to the Care queue.” (p.42)

“The statistics show L&R Reps on the L&R queue use codes for moves/ceases about 24.3 to 24.6% of the time; L&R Reps on the High Value queue approximately 31.1%; and Concierge agents – 18.5 to 26.4%. CCR IVs on the Care queue, on the other hand, use such codes 0.16%.” (p.41)

“Similarly, regarding save codes, L&R queue agents use these 55% of the time; High Value agents – 40%; and Concierge agents – 37%. On the other hand, Care agents use L&R save codes about 2.66% of the time.” (p.41)

“The Union points out some documents, including ones that appear to conflict with positions expressed by the Employer at these proceedings, were not disclosed until well into the hearing, despite numerous requests and multiple orders and in some cases after the Union had closed its case. No explanation was given for this conduct.” (p.49)