Canada Post workers hold off on strike notice

Description: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has delayed issuing a 72-hour strike notice and has presented a new contract proposal.

Source: The Canadian Press

Date: 05/24/2011

Link:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gq5I8PJuRlFbeXz7CyzcDBChZaJg?docId=6926829

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What conditions must be met before a union like CUPW can legally strike?
  • What are the issues in this dispute?
  • What impact do you think a postal strike would have?
  • How have technological developments, such as email and online banking, affected the union’s bargaining position ?
  • How might a union respond to such changes?
  • In the event of a strike, what arguments would be used in favour of a government back-to-work order?
  • What arguments would be used against such an order?

Union claims activist blacklisted

Description: The United Food and Commercial Workers union has filed a complaint with the B.C. Labour Relations Board claiming that the Mexican government and a B.C. farm have blocked a pro-union seasonal worker from returning to this country.

Source: Macleans.ca

Date: 05/24/2011

Link: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/05/24/what-happened-down-on-the-farm/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the role of the B.C. Labour Relations Board in this case?
  • What would you expect to happen next?
  • We have seen in earlier updates on this site that some people argue that agriculture should be treated differently from other areas of the economy when it comes to industrial relations. Do you think those arguments apply here?
  • Why or why not?
  • How does the alleged involvement of the Mexican government complicate this case?

Pilots reject Air Canada proposal

Description: Air Canada pilots have rejected a proposed contract that the airline said was necessary for the launch of a low-cost service.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 19/05/2011

Link:

http://www.thestar.com/business/companies/aircanada/article/993999–air-canada-s-discount-airline-in-jeopardy-after-pilots-reject-deal?bn=1

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why do you think the union rejected this contract?
  • The contract was rejected by a two-to-one margin. What affect will this have on future talks?
  • What would be your next step if you were a union official?
  • What would be your next step if you were a company official?
  • Do you think this vote will affect the CAW local 2002 strike vote mentioned in the story?

Labour congress turns to social media

Description: Labour must turn to Facebook and Twitter to tell its story without the “filter” of mainstream media, Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti told the CLC convention in Vancouver.

Source: The Province (Vancouver)

Date: 05/10/2011

Link:

http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Social+media+spreads+word+Labour+Congress+tells+delegates/4752875/story.html

Related Links:

Questions for discussion:

  • How would social media help the CLC get its message out?
  • Why would the CLC want to avoid the “filter” of the mainstream media?
  • What kind of audience is the CLC targeting by using social media?
  • How could a union use social media in an organizing drive?
  • Follow the link above to the CLC’s Twitter feed. Do you think the CLC is making effective use of Twitter?

Saskatchewan teachers walk out

Description: For the first time in the province’s history, Saskatchewan teachers held a one-day walkout. They have been without a contract since August.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 05/05/2011

Link: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/986293–saskatchewan-teachers-walk-out-over-contract-disputes

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

Review the related links above and answer the following questions:

  • What is the main issue in this dispute?
  • How far apart are the two sides?
  • Why do you think it is taking so long to reach a contract?
  • What arguments are the two sides using to gain public support in this dispute?
  • What do you think might happen next in this dispute?

Air Canada CEO asks pilots for concessions

Description: The chief executive officer of Air Canada is pleading with the airline’s pilots to accept a collective agreement the airline says is required to create a low-cost carrier.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 05/08/2011

Link:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/air-canada-head-pitches-pact-to-pilots/article2014479/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why would this new contract be good for Air Canada? List as many reasons as you can think of.
  • Why might this new contract be good for union members? List as many reasons as you can think of.
  • Why might this new contract not be good for union members? List as many reasons as you can think of.
  • If you were a union member, how would you vote?
  • What do you think will be the long term impact of this contract on the Canadian airline industry?

Supreme Court restricts farm workers’ bargaining rights

Description: In a complex judgement, the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld an Ontario law that limits the bargaining rights of farm workers. The court ruled that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives workers the right to bargain with their employers, but that “it does not guarantee a legislated dispute resolution mechanism in the case of an impasse.”

Source: slaw.ca

Date: 04/29/2011

Link: http://www.slaw.ca/2011/04/29/scc-decision-in-fraser-v-ontario/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • How does this decision fit with previous Supreme Court of Canada rulings on the Charter and industrial relations?
  • Agricultural employers say that having to deal with unions would make it extremely difficult for them to do business. What arguments can you think of to support this claim?
  • What arguments do you think a union would use in response to this claim?
  • In the Globe and Mail story linked above, law professor Allan Hutchinson asks: “What good is a recognition of rights if the least advantaged and most disenfranchised in society – agricultural workers – cannot access them?” Do you agree or disagree with him?
  • In the same story, Brad Elberg, who represented the Mounted Police Members’ Legal Fund before the court, says the court was correct to resist organized labour’s attempts to use the Charter “to impose on government its vision of the ideal model of collective bargaining.” What other models of collective bargaining are there?

Workers mark national day of mourning

The Canadian labour movement observed a National Day of Mourning Apr. 28 for workers killed on the job.

Source: CBC News

Date: 04/28/2011

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/04/28/nl-mourning-workers-428.html

Related Links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why would the Canadian Labour Congress hold an event like this?
  • What are the functions of the CLC?
  • How much responsibility for workplace safety lies with employers?
  • How much responsibility for workplace safety lies with workers?
  • What has been your experience with workplace safety?