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Publication date : 2023-09-07
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Publication date : 2023-06-26
Les Leyne: Premier David Eby takes on lawyers — again

The B.C. NDP government has introduced a one-page bill that bestows the right to join a union on the 350 lawyers who work for government. There’s a catch. It herds them into a union the government prefers, the Professional Employees Association, rather than allowing them to form their own.

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Publication date : 2023-05-06
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Publication date : 2023-05-04
N.B. prosecutors say recent sexual assault stay is evidence of resource shortage

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Publication date : 2023-03-01
Delays prompt judge to stay charges against man accused of sexual assault
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Charges were stayed in Moncton provincial court Friday against a man accused of sexual assault, with the judge agreeing with the defence that the accused had waited too long to be tried. Meanwhile, New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors Association, representing Crown attorneys, saying staffing shortages in their ranks are at crisis levels.

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Publication date : 2023-02-24

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B.C. government lawyers fight for right to unionize on their own terms

Night view of Parliament building in Victoria B.C. PHOTO BY JONGHYUNKIM /PNG


Lawyers who work for the B.C. government writing legislation, providing legal advice and representing government in civil litigation want the right to join a union of their choice.


On Monday, the B.C. Government Lawyers Association said that 75 per cent of the government’s 350 lawyers had signed cards asking that the association be allowed to represent them as its proposed new union.


These lawyers are not unionized, under the 1973 Public Service Labour Relations Act.


The provincial government is prepared to allow them to unionize, but only if the Professional Employees Association represents them in bargaining. Instead, the lawyers want their own association to negotiate for them.


The Professional Employees Association represents nearly 1,300 people working as foresters, engineers, agrologists, geoscientists, psychologists and others in the B.C. government.


B.C. government-paid lawyers working as Crown prosecutors belong to the B.C. Crown Counsel Association, which negotiates for them.


Margo Foster, secretary of the BCGLA, said that the provincial government’s Bill 10 — which her members helped write — permitted workers to choose which union they belonged to.


Bill 10 requires employers to recognize a union if more than 55 per cent of employees have signed on.


“We are a diverse and predominantly female group of employees, yet we are paid less and have less job security than our Crown counsel peers,” Foster said.


“It’s a little-known fact that we can be simply fired at any time without cause. We should be able to do our job without fear of reprisal. If the employer says we aren’t doing our jobs properly, that should be decided by an independent arbitrator, if necessary.”


The lawyers’ association, formed in 1992, is taking its case to the Supreme Court of B.C. — with a five-day trial set to begin on Feb. 6, 2023.


Responding to the lawyers, B.C. Premier David Eby said Monday that his “government, of course, supports the rights of people to organize and I’m sure I’ll hear more about that soon.”