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/

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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?

 

Unifor leader says it’s time to ‘stop playing defence’

Description: Jerry Dias, the new leader of Unifor, says it is time for unions to go on the offensive. He promises to spend 10 per cent of the newly merged union’s revenues on organizing and increasing membership.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 08/31/2013

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/newly-elected-unifor-leader-says-he-is-taking-labour-movement-on-the-offensive/article14063604/

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Questions for discussion:

  • What did Dias say about young people and those who traditionally have not belonged to unions?
  • Do you agree that “young people today are crying for a union”?
  • Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Have you ever belonged to a union?
  • If so, describe briefly the pros and cons of the experience.

US fast-food workers strike for higher minimum wage

Description: Despite protests by fast-food workers around the U.S., Congress appears to have little interest in increasing the minimum wage.

Source: CNN

Date: 08/30/2013

Link: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/29/politics/minimum-wage-congress-obama/index.html?iref=allsearch

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Give a brief description of the reasons U.S. fast-food workers are walking off their jobs.
  • What is the minimum wage where you live?
  • Review the CNN story and the related links. What are the arguments for and against raising the minimum wage?
  • Which arguments do you find the most persuasive?
  • Have you worked in the fast-food industry? Do you think you were paid enough? Discuss.

Steelworkers, TWU to merge

Description: The United Steelworkers union, which represents 225,000 Canadian workers, and the Telecommunications Workers Union, which represents 13,000, have tentatively agreed to merge – the second large private-sector union merger of the year.

Source: CBC

Date: 08/30/2013

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/08/30/steelworkers-telecommunications-union-merger.html

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Questions for discussion:What sort of workers does the Steelworkers union represent?

  • What sort of workers does the Telecommunications Workers union represent?
  • What reasons do the unions give for wanting to merge?
  • What is the next step in this process?
  • Why do you think the TWU is supporting Canada’s Big Three telecommunications companies on the issue of Verizon’s possible entry into this country?

Unions good for local economies, CLC report argues

Description: A Canadian Labour Congress report says unionized workers earn an average of almost $5 an hour more than their non-union counterparts, pumping more than $78 million a week into local economies.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Date: 08/21/2013

Link: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Higher+union+wages+pump+extra+money+into+local+economy+labour+congress+says/8818168/story.html

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Follow the link to the CLC report. Is your community mentioned in it? If so, what does the report say about it?
  • What does Ian Lee, of the Sprott School of Business, say about this study?
  • What does George King say? (See the CBC story.)
  • What do you think of their arguments?
  • Beyond wages, what reasons can you think of for and against belonging to a union?

Unions merge in hopes of reversing decline

Description: With organized labour on the defensive across the country, the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada are merging to create a 300,000-member union called Unifor.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 08/08/2013

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/unions-political-calculus-with-numbers-come-power/article13678660/

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Who is the new head of Unifor?
  • What has happened to union membership in Canada in recent years?
  • What benefits do the CAW and CEP expect from this merger?
  • Can you think of any possible negative effects of this merger?
  • If you were a member of the CAW or CEP would you support the merger? Discuss.

 

Bill C-377 is necessary, construction industry head says

Description: Bill C-377, which would force greater financial disclosure from Canadian unions, has moved to the Senate.

Source: The Journal of Commerce

Date: 02/18/2013

Link: http://www.journalofcommerce.com/article/id54055/–taking-another-look-at-the-controversy-around-bill-c-377

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize Bill Stewart’s argument.
  • Summarize Hugh Segal’s argument.
  • Who do you think makes the strongest points? Why?
  • Do you think this bill is necessary? Why or why not?
  • Prof. Doorey asks: “Do these arguments against Bill C-377 and ‘right to work’ laws seem more convincing when made by a Conservative senator than when made by unions and academics?” What do you think?

B.C. teachers reject premier’s call for 10-year contract

Description: The B.C. Teachers’ Federation wants no part of a government proposal that would include a 10-year collective agreement.

Source: CBC

Date: 01/24/2013

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/01/24/bc-teachers-plan.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • What would the teachers gain under the government proposal?
  • What would the teachers lose?
  • Ten-year collective agreements are extremely rare. Why do you think that is?
  • Who do you think would benefit the most from this proposal? Why?
  • B.C. voters go to the polls May 14 and the Clark government is well back in the opinion polls. How do you think that affects the contents of this proposal and the teachers’ response?

NHL, players reach tentative agreement

Description: The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association have reached a tentative agreement after the second-longest lockout in league history.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 01/06/2013

Link: http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1311128–nhl-lockout-ends-with-tentative-deal-between-league-nhlpa

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • Read Mark Thompson’s commentary and summarize his rules for negotiators in your own words.
  • Do any of these rules surprise you? Explain.
  • How would these rules apply to the NHL lockout?
  • Do you think the lockout would have been ended sooner if the parties had followed these rules?
  • Why do you think the parties didn’t follow these rules?

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