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Union Had to First Pursue Grievance Procedure for Denial of Leave

The Alberta Labour Relations Board refused to decide a grievance relating to denial of leave. A worker who served as shop steward for his union was denied leave to attend a friend’s funeral and filed a grievance. The union subsequently claimed that comments made during settlement discussions indicate the denial was improperly based on the fact that the worker was a shop steward and involved in filing grievances on behalf of other employees. The union thus argued the leave denial was discriminatory. The employer said the terms of the collective agreement govern the leave issue and therefore the grievance procedure in the collective agreement must be followed. The labour relations board agreed, saying the union must first pursue the grievance procedure provided in the agreement