B.C. teachers plan ‘day of action’

Description: Teachers in B.C. are planning protests in the face of a provincial government plan to legislate an end to their job action.

Source: CTV

Date: 02/27/2012

Link: http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20120227/bc_teachers_federation_day_of_action_120227/20120227/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What was the outcome of the government fact finder’s inquiry?
  • Why, according to Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, did the government appoint the fact finder?
  • What alternative to a legislated resolution is the Teachers’ Federation proposing?
  • Why would the teachers favour such a step?
  • Why would the government favour a legislated resolution?

Ontario Zellers workers ratify contract

Description: Unionized workers at Ontario Zellers stores have ratified a three-year contract that provides increased severance pay as the company’s stores are sold to non-union retailers from the U.S.

Source: CBC

Date: 02/20/2012

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/02/20/toronto-ontario-zellers-workers-union.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why is severance pay an important part of this contract?
  • What is successorship? (Consult your textbook.)
  • Does it apply in this case?
  • Why or why not?
  • What do you think will likely happen to the workers at Zellers’ Canadian stores?

Air Canada, pilots agree to mediation

Description: Air Canada and the Air Canada Pilots Association have agreed to a six-month mediation process after the pilots voted overwhelmingly to approve strike action.

Source: The Financial Post

Date: 02/15/2012

Link: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/02/15/air-canada-union-agree-to-extend-mediation-process/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Refer to your text and briefly describe the conciliation process.
  • Does mediation prevent a strike or lockout?
  • Will the recommendations of the co-mediators be binding?
  • How long have the two sides been trying to achieve a new collective agreement?
  • Given the government’s actions in recent disputes, what do you think would happen if the pilots did strike?

Alberta hospital workers walk off job

Description: The Alberta health authority and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have agreed to binding arbitration after a one-day illegal walkout by hospital support staff.

Source: The Edmonton Journal

Date: 02/17/2012

Link: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Hospital+support+workers+return+work+Thursday+evening+Calgary+after/6167433/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why was this strike illegal?
  • What are the issues in this negotiation?
  • What is a wildcat strike?
  • How did this strike begin?
  • What is binding arbitration?
  • How does it differ from the third-party intervention that has already occurred in these negotiations?

Air Canada, mechanics reach tentative deal

Description: Air Canada and the union representing mechanics and ground crews have reached a tentative settlement that the union says includes the retention of a defined-benefit pension plan.

Source: Canada.com

Date: 02/10/2012

Link: http://www.canada.com/business/Canada+gets+tentative+deal+with+mechanics+ground+crew/6133341/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What were the issues in the negotiations between Air Canada and District 140?
  • How was the question of pensions resolved?
  • In what way is the pension solution a compromise?
  • Review the related links. What form of third-party intervention was used in these negotiations?
  • Why is the pilots’ union taking a strike vote?

Government hints at legislated end to B.C. teachers’ dispute

Description: B.C. Education Minister George Abbott says B.C. teachers and their employer are “oceans apart” and suggests the dispute won’t be “settled happily.”

Source: The Victoria Times-Colonist

Date: 02/10/2012

Link: http://www.timescolonist.com/business/Teachers+bosses+ocean+apart/6132362/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the role of the government fact finder in this dispute?
  • What are the B.C. teachers asking for?
  • What is the government’s position?
  • Which do you think is more reasonable?
  • Why?

Caterpillar to close locomotive plant

Description: Caterpillar Inc. has announced it will close its London, Ont. Electro-Motive locomotive plant, where workers have been locked out since the beginning of the year.

Source: The Montreal Gazette

Date: 02/03/2011

Link: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Caterpillar+Electro+Motive+plant+London+close/6099000/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Why does Caterpillar say it must close the plant?
  • What has been the union’s reaction?
  • What do you think about this situation?
  • Review the Related Links above. What is the connection between this closure and recent events in Indiana?
  • Which of the columns listed under Related Links above do you think makes the strongest arguments? Why?
  • What effect do you think this will have on other contract negotiations?

Social media and collective bargaining

Description: Social media carry both risks and benefits for unionized workplaces.

Source: The Calgary Herald

Date: 01/28/2012

Link: http://www.calgaryherald.com/jobs/Navigating+social+media+maze/6066665/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What does Wayne Benedict mean when he describes social media as “a double-edged sword”?
  • Do you agree?
  • Can you think of some ways in which unions could use social media?
  • How would you feel about such practices if you were an employer?
  • What, if any, social media policies do you think employers and unions should develop?
  • Would you work for a company that banned access to social media?