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Filling Job Postings by Seniority

We have fought and will continue to fight for the principle that jobs be filled on the basis of seniority.

However, management will fight equally hard for the right to fill jobs as they want. Hence, most seniority language is a compromise but some compromises are better than others!

We will group seniority clauses into three main categories.

  1.       “required ability” or “threshold” clauses where seniority governs as long as the worker meets the minimum requirements of the job or reaches the “threshold”;


  1.     “relatively equal” or “competitive” clauses where seniority prevails only if the senior employee is relatively equal in ability to junior contestants; and


  1.     “hybrid clauses” which combine seniority with ability without indicating the weight to be given to each.

 Of the three types listed above, the first is the best, from a union point of view.  The third is the worst.

 If your collective agreement says job postings will be filled by the senior candidate whose qualifications are relatively equal to other candidates, you might try for a better clause, a “threshold clause” which might look like this:

“The job posting will be awarded to the senior candidate who possesses the required ability to do the job.”

 Furthermore, try to get the employer to commit to a training period (say 30 days) to allow the senior candidate to learn the job. That’s better still.


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