In December 2017, the New Brunswick government passed provisions to introduce First Contract Arbitration to the Industrial Relations Act. These provisions could allow government to set the employment conditions for a newly unionized employer if the parties cannot reach an agreement.
Restaurants Canada believes First Contract Arbitration unfairly tips the delicate labour/management balance in favour of unions and urged the government to balance these amendments with the introduction of secret ballot votes during the certification process.
In a governmental release, the New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) voiced its support: “The New Brunswick Federation of Labour commends the provincial government in recognizing that workers had the right to join a union, now workers will have the right to a first contract within a reasonable time,” said Patrick Colford, president of the NBFL. “Every time there are conflicts such as these socially, it translates into extremely painful situations for all involved. It is an important step for social and economic justice in New Brunswick.”
These amendments make New Brunswick the second last province in the country to have First Contract Arbitration.