B.C. Purolator employees and owner-operators win victory in Covid-19 vaccine mandate arbitration ruling
Members of Teamsters Local Union No. 31 in Prince George, B.C filed several grievances against Purolator over its Covid-19 vaccination policy on January 10, 2022.
The ruling states that there were "a number of employees in the union's bargaining unit that elected not to be vaccinated" and that all "the grievances complained that the grievors were improperly terminated or placed on involuntary unpaid leaves of absence." The affected individuals included hourly paid workers and owner-operators.
According to the ruling, Purolator implemented a workplace vaccine mandate around September 15, 2021, requiring all employees to be vaccinated for access to Purolator workplaces. The deadline for compliance through vaccination was approximately December 25, 2021. The policy became fully effective on January 10, 2022.
As outlined in the summary of the ruling's background, the union was not contesting the initial effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing infection during the summer and fall of 2021. Instead, they put forth the argument that the efficacy had markedly diminished by the emergence of the Omicron variant in early 2022.
Arbitrator Nicholas Glass says in his ruling that after reviewing expert evidence the “argument that unvaccinated workers once infected were more infectious than vaccinated workers once infected” was found “to be inconclusive” and that “It did not amount to a valid reason for the mandate.”
The ruling orders Purolator to compensate hourly paid employees for their losses, including any lost wages and benefits, between July 1, 2022, and their first day of work following May 1, 2023.
Additionally, the ruling instructs Purolator to compensate owner-operators for their losses starting from the first date they incurred revenue loss due to being denied the use of a vaccinated relief driver.
You can read the full 196 page ruling at the link below.