CP Rail strike ends

Description: A brief strike at Canadian Pacific Railway has ended after federal Labour Minister Kellie Leitch vowed to bring in back-to-work legislation.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 02/16/2015

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-introduces-bill-to-end-cp-rail-strike/article23012104/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Consult your text: why does this dispute fall within federal jurisdiction?
  • Why is Prof. Hebdon critical of federal intervention?
  • Which side does he say benefits most from the threat of intervention?
  • What is the government’s response?
  • Which side do you agree with? Discuss.

Saskatchewan could use notwithstanding clause, premier says

Description: Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says his government could use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to pass essential services legislation.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 02/04/2015

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/sasktchewan-could-use-opt-out-clause-in-labour-ruling-premier-wall-says/article22797444/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Review the related links above. Why did the Supreme Court strike down the Saskatchewan law?
  • What is the notwithstanding clause?
  • Why is the notwithstanding clause controversial?
  • How often has it been used?
  • Do you feel it would be appropriate to use it in this case? Discuss.

Supreme Court strikes down essential services law

Description: A Saskatchewan law that imposed a sweeping ban on public sector strikes is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.

Source: CBC

Date: 01/30/2015

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/essential-services-law-deemed-unconstitutional-by-supreme-court-1.2937740

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What does the term “essential services” mean?
  • Why did the court say the Saskatchewan law is unconstitutional?
  • What did the two dissenting justices say?
  • Whom do you agree with? Why?
  • What are the similarities between this decision and the court’s recent decision regarding the RCMP?

Mounties can bargain, Supreme Court says

Description: The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled 6-1 that RCMP members have the right to collective bargaining.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 01/16/2015

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/supreme-court-backs-mounties-right-to-collective-bargaining/article22486356/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Briefly stated, what did the court rule?
  • What are the likely results of this ruling?
  • What did the court say about freedom of association?
  • What happens now?
  • Based on what you know, do you agree with this ruling? Discuss.

CLC launches Fairness Works campaign

Description: The Canadian labour movement is “rebranding” itself with an ad campaign.

Source: Metro

Date: 12/30/2014

Link: http://metronews.ca/news/toronto/1249288/a-kinder-softer-canadian-labour-movement/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Consult your text: what is the role of the Canadian Labour Congress?
  • Have you seen this ad campaign? What do you think about it?
  • What is your impression of unions?
  • Does this campaign change that opinion? Why or why not?
  • What challenges do unions face in trying to organize what this story describes as “sectors that were previously considered off-limits”?

BC Federation of Labour elects new leader

Description: Irene Lanzinger, the former head of the B.C. teachers union, has narrowly defeated Canadian Labour Congress official Amber Hockin to become the first female head of the B.C. Labour Federation.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 11/27/2014

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/new-bc-labour-head-will-try-to-find-commom-ground-with-liberals/article21822722/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • In this story, Irene Lanzinger talks about trying to find “common ground” with the B.C. Liberal government. Why might this be difficult?
  • What are the advantages to labour unions supporting specific political parties?
  • What are the disadvantages?
  • Should labour unions advocate for non-union workers?
  • Why or why not?

Unions join coalition for increased minimum wage

Description: As union power wanes in the United States, Los Angeles unions representing hotel workers are joining with other activist groups to lobby for an increased minimum wage.

Source: The New York Times

Date: 11/22/2014

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/business/how-a-coalition-pushed-for-a-hotel-workers-minimum-wage.html?_r=0

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • The New York Times story says activists have found it “hard to win through the traditional way of unionizing.” Why do you think this is?
  • What are the advantages to unions of joining coalitions like LAANE?
  • What are the disadvantages?
  • Do you think something like LAANE would be successful in Canada? Explain.
  • Have you ever worked in a minimum wage job? If so, how do you feel about what you were paid?

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/

Related links:

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?

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?

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?

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