Pensions key issue in Saskatoon transit lockout

Description: The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board has halted the City of Saskatoon’s plans to change its transit workers’ pension plan.

Source: Global News

Date: 09/26/2014

Link: http://globalnews.ca/news/1585324/labour-board-to-rule-on-legality-of-saskatoon-transit-lockout/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What did the union ask the board to do?
  • What is the city’s reason for locking the union out?
  • What is the city’s reason for changing the pension plan?
  • What does the union say about the state of the pension plan?
  • Summarize the offers from the two sides.

Tories seek debate limits as Bill C-377 returns to Senate

Description: Conservative senators are attempting to limit debate on private member’s bills as a controversial bill affecting unions goes back to the upper house.

Source: National Post

Date: 09/21/2014

Link: http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/09/21/tories-move-to-limit-debate-in-senate-as-controversial-union-bill-heads-back-to-upper-chamber/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What would Bill C-377 do?
  • Summarize the arguments in favour of Bill C-377.
  • Summarize the arguments against Bill C-377.
  • Do you think the bill is necessary?
  • What happened to the bill the first time it went before the Senate?

BC teachers back at work

Description: After a long and bitter dispute, the B.C. government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation have reached a six-year contract with the help of mediator Vince Ready.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Date: 09/20/2014

Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Vaughn+Palmer+Remarkably+clean+ending+bitter+dispute/10219679/story.html

Related links:

 

Questions for discussion:

  • What did the BCTF give up to get this agreement?
  • What did the government give up to get this agreement?
  • Why does Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer describe the settlement as a “remarkably clean ending to bitter dispute”?
  • What were the key issues in this dispute?
  • Palmer says: “when parties don’t trust each other, it takes time to recognize which proposals are non-starters and move into each other’s zone of settlement.” Why don’t these parties trust each other?

Unions and the changing economy

Description: For many Canadians, Labour Day may not have the same significance it once did.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 09/01/2014

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/evolving-work-force-presents-new-challenges-to-unions/article20290383/

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Questions for discussion:

  • What does the article describe as the aims of the labour movement in its early days?
  • What recent changes to the economy have proved challenging to unions?
  • How have unions responded?
  • Have you ever belonged to a union?
  • What are your feelings about unions? Are they necessary?

Mediator walks out of B.C. school talks

Description: Veteran mediator Vince Ready says it’s unrealistic to expect the two sides in the B.C. schools dispute to come to an agreement by the scheduled start of classes. He had been engaged in exploratory talks with the parties in the hopes of entering mediation.

Source: CBC

Date: 08/30/2014

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-teachers-strike-vince-ready-walks-out-of-talks-1.2751718

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why did Vince Ready quit the talks?
  • Consult your textbook. What is mediation? What does a mediator do?
  • The Vancouver School Board is asking that the dispute be put to binding arbitration. What is binding arbitration? How does it differ from mediation?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches?
  • See the Related links above. In January, the B.C. Supreme Court found the B.C. government had bargained in bad faith with the teachers. What does the term bad faith mean in a collective bargaining context?

 

Federal government knew TFW rules being broken, AFL says

Description: The Alberta Federation of Labour says documents show the federal government knew temporary foreign workers were being underpaid in 2013.

Source: CBC

Date: 08/15/2014

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/temporary-foreign-worker-program-misuse-sanctioned-by-harper-government-union-says-1.2737422

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Questions for discussion:

  • Consult your text: what is a labour federation?
  • Who does the AFL represent?
  • Summarize the AFL’s complaint.
  • What changes did the federal government make to the TFW program this year?
  • Do you agree with the AFL that the TFW program should be eliminated? Why or why not?

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#

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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?

 

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