Sick days similar in private, public sector

Description: A report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer finds that workers in the public sector take about the same number of paid sick days as their private-sector counterparts.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 02/06/2014

Link: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/06/public_servants_take_similar_amount_of_sick_days_as_private_sector_report.html#

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Describe the role of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.
  • What does the report conclude?
  • How do public sector workers differ from private sector workers, according to the report?
  • How does this affect sick leave?
  • How does the report affect Tony Clement’s claims of sick leave abuse in the public service?


Tory leader backs away from ‘right-to-work’

Description: Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is no longer calling for “right-to-work” laws.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 02/21/2014

Link: http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/02/21/tim_hudak_renounces_antiunion_righttowork_plan.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is “right to work”?
  • Consult your text: what is the Rand Formula?
  • Do you think the Rand Formula is fair?
  • Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Hudak backed away from his “right to work” plans?


Considering the union wage premium

Description: Unionized Canadians make more than their non-union counterparts, but the concept of the union “wage premium” is a complex one.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 02/05/2014

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/it-still-pays-to-be-in-a-union-but-for-how-long/article16697608/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the union “wage premium”?
  • Why does the author say this premium “tends to be overestimated”?
  • What are some of the forces that threaten this premium?
  • Do you agree with the statement that “belonging to a union may seem like an antiquated notion to many in today’s work environment”?
  • Why or why not?

 



BC government fined $2 million in teachers dispute

Description: A B.C. Supreme Court justice has ruled that the B.C. government did not act in good faith in its dealings with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and has fined the government $2 million.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 01/27/2014

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-teachers-win-legal-fight-to-bargain-class-sizes/article16525448/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why did the judge fine the government $2 million?
  • Why did the judge find the government’s legislation was unconstitutional?
  • Why did the judge conclude the government had not bargained in good faith?
  • What has been the government’s response?
  • What are some of the impacts of this decision?

 



Tentative agreement in UNB strike

Description: The University of New Brunswick and the university’s faculty association have reached a tentative agreement, while faculty at Mount Allison University remain on strike.

Source: Global News

Date: 01/30/2014

Link: http://globalnews.ca/news/1118652/unb-faculty-union-have-agreement-in-place-to-end-strike/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What are the issues in these disputes?
  • See the CTV story: What is the position of the New Brunswick Student Alliance?
  • What would be the impact on you if your professors went on strike?
  • The Mount Allison faculty association says this dispute is about academic freedom. Based on what you know, do you agree?
  • Why or why not?


United Church clergy form union

Description: United Church ministers and other church workers are forming a union to seek better job security and combat bullying and overwork.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 01/21/2014

Link: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/01/21/united_church_of_canada_clergy_form_their_own_union.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is “precarious work”?
  • Can you think of some other examples?
  • What is this union’s relationship to Unifor?
  • Does it surprise you that clergy would form a union?
  • What challenges can you think of that would face a non-traditional union such as this?


New foreign worker rules anger UFCW

Description: The general counsel for the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union is calling changes to the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program a “smokescreen” and adds that one provision is “absolutely unconscionable.”

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 01/03/2014

Link: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/01/03/new_regulations_to_temporary_foreign_worker_program_called_a_smokescreen.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program?
  • What caused the federal government to review it?
  • What changes are particularly upsetting to the UFCW and other critics?
  • What is the government’s explanation for the changes?
  • What is your opinion of the changes?


Unifor seeks to unionize Toyota Canada

Description: Organizing Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. in 2014 is a key priority for Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.

Source: Financial Post

Date: 12/18/2013

Link: http://business.financialpost.com/2013/12/18/toyota-canada-union-vote/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why does Unifor think this is a good time to unionize Toyota?
  • How has Toyota resisted unionization so far?
  • Who does Unifor represent?
  • Consult your text: what steps have to be taken to unionize a workplace?
  • What is an application for certification?

 



Canada Post seeks pension concessions

Description: The CEO of Canada Post says the corporation’s $17-billion pension plan is badly underfunded and workers will need to help make the plan sustainable.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 12/16/2013

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canada-post-to-push-for-worker-concessions-on-pensions/article15987182/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why does Canada Post say its pension plan needs fixing?
  • What remedies are suggested in this article?
  • How many jobs does Canada Post plan to eliminate?
  • Briefly summarize economist Armine Yalnizyan’s argument. (See related links.)
  • Do you think this argument makes sense? Why or why not?


Ontario Liberals, NDP attack ‘right-to-work’ promise

Description: Ontario Liberals and New Democrats are hitting back at a Conservative pledge to make the province a “right-to-work” jurisdiction.

Source: Canadian Labour Reporter

Date: 11/29/2013

Link: http://www.labour-reporter.com/articleview/19565-ontario-right-to-work-legislation-would-kill-jobs-lower-wages-liberals

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is “right-to-work”?
  • Do you believe the term is an accurate description of the concept? Why or why not?
  • What is the Rand formula?
  • Consult your textbook: what is the history of the Rand formula?
  • Do you think making Ontario an “right-to-work” province would be a good idea? Why or why not?