UFCW 175 v Amazon (procedural decision)

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In this Ontario Labour Relations Board (the “Board”) decision of June 14, 2021, Vice-Chair Beatty addressed a procedural concern raised by Amazon Canada Fulfillment Services (“Amazon”) during a hearing on May 19, 2021.

Amazon proposed that the Union’s certification and unfair labour practice applications before the Board be bifurcated, so that the Board would first make a determination of the merits of the applications before addressing any potential remedies. Amazon argued that doing so would be more efficient, as it would avoid the need to call additional evidence with respect to the question of who is the true employer of the delivery drivers at issue in these applications. Amazon also requested that the delivery service providers contracted by Amazon (the “DSPs”) be given an opportunity to make submissions before the Board in these proceedings.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 175 (the “Union”) argued that it would be more efficient for the Board to issue a final decision addressing the merits of the application for certification and the unfair labour practice complaint, and the remedy in a single decision. The Union argued that bifurcating the hearing would result in further delay to an already extraordinarily long process, and that addressing the merits and remedy together would also be consistent with the Board’s usual practice of addressing the merits and any resulting remedies in a final decision.

The Board agreed with the Union, noting that it has heard reams of evidence with respect to the working conditions of the delivery
associates, evidence which is only relevant to a determination of whether Amazon is the true employer of those employees. The Board agreed that that evidence has been provided as part of the applications for certification and the unfair labour practice complaint.

In the result, the Board declined Amazon’s requests to bifurcate the hearing and for DSPs to be given the opportunity to make submissions. The Board will continue to hear the matter and will make a final determination that addresses the merits and remedy in a single decision.

PDF: UFCW 175 v Amazon Canada Fulfillment Services, 2021 CanLII 53297 (ON LRB)