MHR 523 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Union Representative, Social Movement Unionism, Union Movement

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21 Jul 2016
Lecture 11: Labour Relations Chapter 16
April 11th, 2016
Labour Relations Terms
Labour Relations:
oThe study of employment relationships and issues between groups of employees
(usually in unions) and management; aka union-management relations.
oA group of workers recognized by law who collectively bargain terms and conditions of
employment with their employer
Collective Agreement
oA written document outlining the terms and conditions of employment in a unionized
What else do Unions do? (What is the difference between unionized and non-unionized workplace?-
benefits, job security, and pay, fairness)
Taking wages out of competition
The importance of voice in the workplace
oIncreased organizational justice
oPolitical action
oOrganizational involvement
Promote social justice in society (social unionism)
Example of the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters
Historical development of the modern labour movement
Craft Unions (Mid 1800s)
oRoots of the Union Movement
oSought to protect skill trades from the threat of unskilled Labour
Trade Union (late 19th century)
oOrganize all workers (in a trade) regardless of industry
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Industrial Union (1935)
oOrganize all workers regardless of industry or trade
Union Density
A fraction that expresses union members as a % of the non-agricultural labour force
Rate of unionization in Canada: roughly 30% ( a third of Canadian workers is unionized)
Strategies towards Unions
1. Union Acceptance
2. Union Resistance- occurs in a somewhat unionized workplace
3. Union Removal- firms remove or prevent unionization in their organization (Walmart)
4. Union Substitution / Union Avoidance- companies try to offer everything unions offer so a
union doesn’t need to exist (offer same benefits and wages)
Common Criticism of Unions
Cost and flexibility (most common)
They can create a culture of entitlement
They can restrict flexibility and hurt competitiveness
They can drive companies to move jobs out of the country, to places where there are no unions
Where do Union Dues GO?
A portion of money from your pay cheque does to the union for financial security
The Dues keep the union successful, strike pay, admin function, political support
Labour Relations Process
1. Employees decide to seek collective representation
oInitial Contact, must have a desire to have a union
oInformation Meeting- with employee and discuss benefits of union
oEstablish organizing committee
oApplication for certification (this formally begins the certification process)
2. The union organizing campaign begins: Employer rights
oEmployers are allowed to express views on unions
ostate position on remaining non-union
oprohibit union activity on company property/time
oincrease wages in normal course of business
oassemble employees to state position if:
purpose of meeting stated in advance
attendance is optional
no threats/promises
oUnion Certification Summary
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