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Lecture - Understanding the Basics - 2014-01-17.docx

4 Pages

Labour Studies
Course Code
Sandra Colavecchia

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Unions: Understanding the Basics • core of what unions do today = collective bargaining and collective agreement – since 1940's the system structures around collective bargaining/agreement; it is an agreement bargained collectively by workers that have been unionized and they make a collective agreement with their employer; idea is you have more leverage if you gather together; sets terms of the fundamental things in a workplace (wages, etc) o strengths and limits - strength is that you actually have a contract negotiated with the employer and if the employer does something against the contract you have something to hold them; weaknesses: when not bargaining unions don't have much to do, stuck with the agreement that they have; core part of collective system is when it is in effect you stick with that agreement and cannot go on strike and organize other ____; only time you do can this stuff is when you are bargaining (bad especially when workplace and economy is transforming, can't anticipate these problems • recognition – process/ term for the employer recognizing the union as a bargaining unit and recognizing that they basic conditions of work will be bargained collectively; this doesn't mean that there are individual contracts with employers (however this has to match the collective agreement); for a long time unions had to force employers to recognize them; single reason for strike because employers wouldn't recognize unions as a bargaining agent; 1940's there were so many strikes that employers stepped in to create a new system o certification – this is the system; it is independent of the union and called the labour board; they will come in and certify a union using majority rules; if majority of the workers vote to form a union then one is created; when certification happens two things are created: a union, and a bargaining unit o bargaining unit – are a part of a bargaining unit even if you aren't in union; in bargaining unit if you get a job in unionized place; when certification happens they agree to who will be in the bargaining unit; this means you are in and have to pay dues but don't have to join the union  coverage and dues • rand formula – should not have to join a union in order to get a job however unions have a legit complaint about free riders • "free riders" – people who benefit from unions activities (higher wages, better job security etc) but do not contribute to the union; said everyone in the bargaining unit should pay dues Unions: Understanding the Basics Part 2 • compensation – wages and compensation higher in places where there is a union; this is why free riders was a legitimate complaint o union wage premium – between unionized and non unionized members; when unions reach critical mass it reaches something called a spillover (in industries where unions are strong enough (auto) whatever unions make in their workshops non unionized workers made as well;  gap of non-union vs. union wages (2008) • all workers 23% • permanent workers 19.9% • temp workers 49.6% • men 13.7% • women 35.5% • benefits – through collective bargaining there were new standards (medical coverage, maternity leave etc) o pensions – most are from unionized workplaces and bargained by unions; employers like pensions because it increase loyalty because the older worker tends to be more loyal (pensions nicknamed the golden handcuffs --> gold but cuff you to the employer); in lots of cases unions managed the pension funds, this often made it seem that unions were rooting for the other side • job security – union members extremely worried about; bargaining method isn't good for getting job security; before this was managed at the ground floor (someone was fired then workers would revolt together --> collective bargaining stopped this) o seniority – tends to not be popular with younger workers; for lots of people it is essentially because when they want to cut cost they get rid of the most expensive workers; before seniority the older people would get fired too; this was used to protect workers • day to day – when unions getting established the day to day matters drove them the most; in today's system matters are centred around the collective agreement rather than around the workers or management; in the collect
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