OLRB Rules on Merger of LU 1739 & 894 into LU 353


OLRB Rules on Merger of LU 1739 & 894 into LU 353


In January 2010, after about six months of economic and market share research, the International Office of the IBEW ordered the merger of LU 1739 (Barrie) and LU 894 (Oshawa) into LU 353 (Toronto) and directed the three unions to meet to establish an implementation plan. The implementation meetings failed to reach any consensus on structural issues such as trust funds, organizing and hiring halls. In response, the two smaller unions filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to quash the merger ordered by the International.


In the end, the OLRB stopped just short of writing a decision that forces an immediate merger of the Local Unions. Though the OLRB found that “the International Union had just cause to make significant and substantial structural changes to the two Local Unions”, the speed and lack of consultation which characterized the implementation meetings left the International unable to address the issues of trust funds, organizing, stabilization and hiring. These are issues considered important by the OLRB to a successful restructuring. Though the OLRB acknowledged that “No alternative to merger with Local 353 is evident at this time”, the decision directs the International to meet with the three Local Unions between now and March 31st to discuss the following issues:

·         Are there alternatives to merger?

·         Hiring hall provisions necessary to ensure equal employment opportunities for members of Locals 1739 and 894?

·         Structural change to ensure organizing is carried out in the areas of Local 1739 and 894?

·         Amendments required in the Principal Agreement to give effect to any changes agreed upon?

·         Changes necessary to health, welfare and pension trusts and benefit plans?

·         Objectives for the operation of the stabilization fund(s) that will exist?


If there is no agreement among them on these matters, the OLRB will hear submissions in April on what should be done and what orders should be issued pursuant to 149 (4) of the Labour Relations Act. Having already decided that the International had just cause, the OLRB has significant scope and authority under 149 (4) to take decisive action.


Questions on information contained in this Alert may be directed to Eryl Roberts at 416-675-3226 ext. 311 (telephone), 416-675-7736 (fax), or eroberts@ecao.org (email).