Both the provincial government and the Union of Public Sector Employees say there was nothing unusual about a flurry of job postings leading up to the recent provincial election.
Jobs were advertised by both the Department of Transportation and the PEI Liquor Control Commission in the months prior to the election and defeat of the governing Liberals.
The Graphic requested a list of positions awarded in both departments from February 1 to early May, 2019.
On the transportation front, a total of nine foreman positions were advertised for the Kings County region alone, while one inventory control position was advertised for Alma, in West Prince.
Postings from the Liquor Commission included six openings for liquor store managers province-wide. That includes manager positions at both the Montague and Souris liquor stores. As well, some positions opened up at the four Cannabis PEI stores including a part-time (50 per cent) cannabis store clerk position for the O’Leary store, as well as a full-time cannabis store clerk for the Montague location.
Karen Jackson, president of the Union of Public Sector Employees, focused her comments on the PEILCC positions. She said the union had filed a grievance with the PEILCC last year, alleging the Crown corporation wasn’t filling vacant positions within the time line outlined in the civil service agreement.
“UPSE followed up with the LCC and the grievance was held in abeyance until all the positions were filled with Cannabis PEI, as there were members who worked at the LCC who would be applying for these jobs,” Ms Jackson said. “Once the (Cannabis PEI) positions were filled the LCC started to and continued to post these vacant positions.”
An individual from the union who spoke on background said the union’s duty is to protect its members and enforce the collective agreement, and there is no proof patronage was involved in the handing out of these jobs.
Department of Transportation spokesperson Katie MacDonald said the job postings in question were for existing positions that became vacant through retirements or attrition. She said none of these position were vacant any longer than a year.
“They were advertised because the position needed to be filled. Unions are involved in this process,” Ms MacDonald said. “These advertisements and hirings are part of the normal business of government and were unrelated to the election.”
Ms Jackson said the union continually requests job vacancy reports from all government departments to ensure positions are being filled in the time frame negotiated in the collective agreement.