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Labour relations midterm review Chapters 1-5 ADM3334A

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University of Ottawa
Suzanne Payette

Labour relations midterm review Chapters 1-5 Chapter 1 Industrial Relations  The study of employment in union and non-union organizations  Labour relations: The study of all aspects of the union-management relationship including the establishment of union bargaining rights, the negotiation process, and the administration of a collective agreement Labour relations issues  A non-union employee who has been wrongfully dismissed will be reinstated in court o True  A collective agreement provides that any work done on a Sunday will be paid the overtime rate. A union might be required to waive this term of the agreement to meet its obligation under human rights legislation. That is, the union might be required to agree to an employee working on Sunday and not be paid overtime if the employee cannot work on Saturday because of his or her religious beliefs o A collective agreement cannot breach human rights legislation  Over the past 30 years the percentage of employees who are represented by unions had dramatically declines both in Canada and the US o US decline = 50-60% o Canada decline = 30%  Some employers attempt to avoid unionization by paying non-union employees wages that are equivalent to the wages paid to union employees o True, the steel industry pays union wages to match other steel companies  A government might pass special back-to-work legislation ordering an end to a strike in the public sector, however, strikes in the private sector cannot be ended by such legislation o False, the government can enact private sector legislation if it feels the strike will affect the community  When a union attempts to organize employees there is always a vote held to determine if the employees with to be represented by the union o A vote need not always be held, if the union can demonstrate certain percentages of support, it is possible to avoid a vote  Collective agreements can provide the employees are required to become union members – an employer could be forced to terminate an employee who refused to join the union o True, if the union and the employer have negotiated an agreement and the employee refuses to join the union he is given 30-60 days to join the union in order to retain his employment  In the course of negotiation of a collective agreement the employer may be required to reveal information to the union even though the union has not requested it o True, if the union did not ask for information on reorganization of offshoring activities, the employer is still obligated to divulge said information if it will affect employment levels and the levels of business  When an employee takes a complaint to his or her union – for example, the employee alleges termination without cause – the union is required to pursue the matter with the employer o True, the labour organization must support the employee in his grievance due to termination without cause and must follow internal process. Need not take it to arbitration. Employee can put in a complaint to a labour board claiming unfair legislation  When a vote is held to authorize a strike, all employees in the group that would be on strike are entitled to vote. That is, both union members and employees who are not union members are entitled to vote o This depends on legislation, some legislations include the vote to strike only for member which pushes non-members to join a bargaining union  Some public sector employees have the right to strike provided that essential services are maintained for the public by having some employees continue to work o True, must go through arbitration if they wish to strike  Unions reduce productivity and profitability o False, depends on the union and other characteristics Non-union vs. unionized workplaces  Legal basis for relationship: Indiv contracts of employment (NU) vs Collective agreement (UW)  Terms of employment: Indiv employees (NU) vs The union (UW)  Nature employment terms: Possible unique for each employee (NU) vs. Identical for employee sin same job class covered by collective agreement (UW)  Dismissal without cause: Employer subject to give reasonable notice (NU) vs. Employers must comply with notice and severance provisions in collective agreement  Dismissal with cause: if employer establishes just cause notice need not be given, if employer fails to establish cause notice must be given (NU) vs. failure to give notice will equate to severance being paid if employer fails to establish just cause reinstatement is possible (UW)  Change in employment terms: law prevents significant changes without consent (NU) vs. Constructive dismissal doctrine does not apply (UW)  Process to resolve disputes: Court action (NU) vs. grievance and arbitration process in collective agreement (UW) Importance of labour relations  Labour relations affect o Employment relationship o Terms and conditions of work o Employer costs and productivity o Non-union employees and the public  One of the attributes is that unions try to Take wages away from the competition, while trying to make wages consistent in a sector  Employment standards play the role of employment organizations in non-union employees and the public o Improve the situation of all working people across Canada Systems approach  4 elements: A set of actors, the context of the system, an ideology binding the system together, and body of rule to govern the actors  Industrial relations systems should produce a set of procedural and substantive rules  Procedural rules: processes used to determine the substantive rules or outcomes of the system (rules regarding the grievance procedure)  Political economy approach  Context: the environment consisting of three areas o Technology used in the workplace, the product and factor markets that affect the actors, and the distribution of power in society Political Economy approach  Emphasizes that labour relations is affected by broader issues in society and the economy, especially the distribution of power in society  It is asserted that employers have the upper hand over employees and that the establishment of small fragmented bargaining units means that employees do not have sufficient power to deal with employers  Conflict is inherent because: there is fundamental conflict of interest between employers and employees, the nature of the employment relationship leads to conflict, The nature of ones work is a potential source of conflict (workload, stress, fatigue) Confrontation or collaboration  Can employers and unions reduce hostility and increase collaboration A framework for labour relations  Actors and Parties: The government, the employers, the unions  The environment: refers to the economic, technological, social, political, and legal factors that affect the parties and the processes they engage in (economic, technological, social, political, and legal environments)  Processes and Activities: the various activities the parties might engage in. (negotiation collective agreements, implementing no smoking policy)  Outputs and results: Sets out the possible results of the activities of the parties. The primary output is the collective agreement which concerns wages, benefits, job advancement rights, and job security provisions Chapter 2: The Environment Environmental factors affecting Labour Relations  Economy o There is a certain margin for collective agreements in a good economy with a stable inflation rate o While recession makes it very difficult to negotiate positive wage adjustments when the employer is filling for bankruptcy, reorganization, or merges o Different sectors take recession differently (Automobile, Steel) o Sometimes management do not understand collective bargaining  Technology o Technology may replace jobs, and have an important impact on jobs and job security o Technology can replace employees completely, or replace employees with other workers with a different skillset  Social o Comparing the social environment of Canada with those of the UK/US o The openness towards the labour movement o Higher union density in NFL, Quebec and thirdly Ontario  Political o Parties in power can have an impact on labour legislation o The threshold of standards is what’s in labour standards and government legislation o Collective agreement cannot go below the labour standards, while collective agreement attempt to go above and beyond minimum standards o Have footing with the labour movement, but not directly aligned  Legal o Critical to labour relations o Employment standards legislation mandates the minimum terms of employment such as minimum vacations, holidays, wages o Any terms in the employment contract must abide by the Employment legislation act o Human rights legislation prohibits discrimination and imposes a “duty to accommodate” o Labour relations legislation regulates the relationship between the unions employees and employers The Economy  Macroeconomic environment: The economic big picture, including grouth, unemployment rate, and inflation o During periods of unemployment, wages tend to plummet, while when unemployment is low, wages rise  Government economic policy: Fiscal, monetary, debt reduction, and tax policy o Fiscal – how is the government treating income and wages? What is the best way to create value and keep wages outside of taxation? o Taxation: What is the best way to treat benefit of access to a car, house? o Debt reduction: The ability for the government to bail out the auto industry o Monetary policy: Will have an impact on inflation rates and inflation  Demand: Industry and firm o Demand high prices rise, demand low prices low Real vs Nominal wages  If inflation was 3% in a year in which employees received a 2% wage increae, what has happened to real wages? o Real wages have declined by 1% o The objective is to improve the employees economic condition by matching and rising above inflation o Minimum wage had not kept up to inflation over the years  There exist cost of living adjustments when inflation is very high o Ensuring that workers were getting a fair deal based on what they were consuming o Cola were difficult to the employers because they could not predict what it would cost them Elasticity of demand  Looks at the elasticity of demand and thereby the adjustability of wages.  Elastic demand means a lot of room for negotiation, inelastic demand means little room for negotiation Economic trends and issues Labour market changes  Aging workforce o Shortage of skills o Everything the same for everyone based on years of experience o The union will often want the same rules for everyone o Employer may want to select the employees the natural retirement age  Youth employment o Many collective agreement have 2 tier wages and working conditions  May be a different rate of pay and accumulation for vacation based on when the employee was hired o Not necessarily equal but it is highly profitable that tier 2 of wages will apply to a younger workforce o These are illegal in Quebec, cannot negoatiate two tier wages if it does not have an adverse effect on younger workers o Have different requests, needs, expectation within the organizations, this means the union must understand the different needs that the younger workers put forward (more vacation earlier)  Female participation o Has increased over the last 30 years o Changed the foucs of unions o More flexibility, access to day care, time off for children’s issues o Younger employees (male and female) seem to be taking greater responsibility in response to children  Diversity o Brings changes due to religious obligation  Personally selected holidays o Employment equity measures to protect the achieved numbers  Non-standard work o Any hours worked outside of Monday-Friday 9-5 o Split shifts, the union will want to negotiation premiums in order to compendate individuals for working non0standard work  Night/weekend premiums  Mergers: Firms acquiring other firms o Big issue o Loblaws buying shoppers drug mart o Would call for the revisit of collective agreement in the long term o As an organisation, you want to have a uniform approach to your wages and benefits  Globalization: Worldwide sourcing and competition o No longer competing with wages across the country, but across the world  Trade liberalization: Reduced tariff bariers (NAFTA) o Labour movement was very much against NAFTA o They even oppose new countries joining the NAFTER negotiations  Deindustrialization o Shift from primary goods production to service production o Historically, the variations of goods producing industries have declined much more than services industries  Downsizing o JOb reductions o Increasing in job reduction, layoffs, and job security  Deregulation o What will be the impact of Verizon coming to Canada?  Legacy cost o Bringing about major changes for the eligible for the status of “Retiree”  Must have worked there for 10 years in order to qualify as a retiree o Some organizations are moving away from providing benefits in a lump sum o Retirement legislation is often negotiated along with the collective agreement Technology: Possible issues  Job security o Ability to keep ones job without fear of being layed off  Health and safety o The possibility of burn outs  Compensation o The appropriate wages for those who cannot make the grade o Or those with better skills  Privacy o Issues arise depending on the technology  Communications with employees o Stress ir change management  Telework o Removing the physical location of work o Cost reduction for physical space and increase it on the technology side o Still poorly dealt with Social environment Values and beliefs regarding  Legitimacy of unions o How unions outlive their usefulness o Do we still need these unions? o Unions fill a necessary role in protecting the employee  Support of unionization o By age, type of education, work sector o Open to unions, yet very slow to joining them  The right to strike o Creates a fair amount of debate o Ultimate tool in order to generate pressure on the employer o Middle of the road approach o Absence of the right to strike is a way of reorganization that employees should not strike but will need access to a resolution process  Support or opposition to a particular labour dispute o When a labour dispute arises, those who are willing to sympathise, district labour councils will help to support Divided Employment and labour jurisdiction  Provincially regulated employers include o Manufacturing, retails, service, construction  Federally regulated employers o Interprovincial transport, banking, broadcasting  You can only hire a provincial mover if you’re moving within the province  While if you are moving out of province you must hire a federally regulated mover  Federal: OC transpo, STO, heal and safety board  Provincial: TTC  In Quebec health and safety is possible for pregnant women to be out on workers compensation if they work in unsafe fields (teachers, nurses) Legal environment  Employment standards legislation: minimum terms of employment  Human rights legislation: Discrimination, harassment, duty to accommodate  Labour relations legislation: Relationship between employers and unions  Charter of rights and freedoms: Provincially and federally available Prohibited grounds of discrimination  Age  Ancestry or place of origin  Dependence on alcohol or drugs  Family status  Language  Marital status  National or ethnic origin  Pardoned conviction  Physical/mental disability  Political belief  Race or colour  Record of criminal conviction  Religion  Sex  Sexual orientation  Social condition/origin  Source of income o You cannot have a clause or agreement that goes against these grounds of discrimination Forms of discrimination  Direct: intentional  Indirect: Neutral rule that causes an adverse impact o More difficult to identify and address Duty to accommodate  Obligation to ensure participation of individuals protected by human rights legislation, by taking measure short of undue hardship o What does the employer have to do without going to far out of their way? o Also applies to scents Possible measures to accommodate  Allowing a period of absence from work  Changes in timekeeping or attendance requirements  Changes in shifts or hours of work  Reduced hours  Modifications of job duties  Changes in the design of the workplace  Training to facilitate a move to another job  Training of other employees  Transfer to an alternative job  Demotion to a lower job level  Transfer of employee out of bargaining unit Factors determining undue hardship  Financial cost  Size of employers operations  Interchangeability of the workforce and facilities  Safety  Provisions of any collective agreement  The effect on employee morale Bona Fide occupational Qualification (Requirement)  A discriminatory job requirement that is permitted if the employer establishes o A purpose rationally connected to the job o Adoption in good faith o Reasonably necessary and individuals cannot be accommodated Implications of the charter  Expansion of human rights protection  Collective bargaining protected, health services case  Right to strike not protected  Union dues: Mandatory deduction not a violation o A question of individual rights vs collective rights o Right to organize, right to collective bargaining o If the membership at large voted for the budget to be applied in a specific area, the individual would have no say in the o matter  Right to organize: Future expansion? o Who are we trying to organize?  Freedom of expression o Limit t
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