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Rotman Commerce
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John Oesch

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Chapter 9  Labour union: a group of individuals working together to achieve shared job-related goals, such as higher pay, shorter working hours, more job security, greater benefits, or better working conditions  Labour relations: overall process of dealing with employees who are represented by a union  Collective bargaining: process by which union leaders and managers negotiate specific terms and conditions of employment for workers who are represented by unions  Labour movement was born with the Industrial Revolution where the work conditions were horrible  First national labour organization was formed in 1873, when Canadian Labour Union was established  Today, unions are having difficulties attracting new members  Women represent about half of all union workers  The public sector is heavily unionized (about 72%) while the private sector is not (about 18%)  Because today’s workforce is increasingly composed of women and ethinic minorities (whom have much weaker traditions of union affiliation), their members are less likely to join unions when entering the workforce  Also the workforce is increasingly employed in the service sector and traditionally, it has been less heavily unionized  Today, many employers are more aggressive in anti-unionization that minimizes unionization  Lack of growth in unions in Canada has been accompanied by change in trends in union- management relations the unions realize that they don’t have as much power as they once did, and so they tend to work with instead of against management  Unions are now focusing on job security and pensions as opposed to increasing wages and benefits (partly because of the recession that began in 2008, that made it difficult to bargain for big wage increases, as well as increasing globalization, where companies can outsource)  Unions success in increased wages, shorter working hours, and safer working conditions have benefited many non-unionized workers as well  Some of the challenges that unions are facing include: o Decline of manufacturing industry, where union power has traditionally been strong o Growth in service industries, where union power has traditionally been weak o Free trade and globalization, which resulted in many jobs being moved to areas of the world with low labour costs o Technological change that threatens existing unionized jobs  Historically, laws were more favourable for the employers  Industrial Disputes Investigation Act (1907): provided for compulsory investigation of labour disputes by a gov’t appointed board before a strike was allowed this act was later found to violate the British North America Act (BNA Act)  Privy Council Order 1003 (1943): recognized the right of employees to bargain collectively o It prohibited strikes and lockouts except in the course of negotiating collective agreements  Constitution Act (originally BNA Act): divided authority over labour regulations between federal and provincial gov’ts o Federal= labour legislation for companies operating interprovincially o Provincial= labour regulations in general o This is why some groups of employees can go on strike in one province, but not in another  Canada Labour Code: regulates labour practices of firms operating under the legislative authority of parliament (composed of 3 main sections) o Industrial relations: deals with all matters related to collective bargaining o Occupational health and safety: describes the responsibilities of both employers and employees in maintaining a safe workplace (even if the employee did not exercise proper care to ensure safety, compensation must still be paid if an injury occurs) o Standard hours, wages, vacations, and holidays: covers non-managerial workers and specific provisions are changed frequently to take into account changes in the economic and social structure of Canada  Each province has enacted legislation deal with stuff covered in Canada Labour Code, but can vary across provinces  Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRB) is a document dealing with the conduct of labour relations in Ontario o The OLRB has the right to call for a certification vote. If more than 50% of those voting are in favour of the union, the board certifies the union as the bargaining unit o Firms are required to deduct union dues from the members of the union and remit these dues directly to the union  A union might try to organize workers when a firm is trying to move into a new geographical area, or when some workers in a firm are members and the union wants to represent other workers, or when it is attempting to outdo a rival union  Management often becomes aware of a union organizing effort through gossip from the company grapevine they can try to counteract it, but they must know what they can legally do to discourage the union  Bargaining unit: individuals grouped together for purposes of collective bargaining o The labour board of the province can determine which individuals are appropriate to join the union (this is so that the union doesn’t recruit random fags so that they can be certified as a bargaining unit)  Professional and non-professional employees are generally not included in the same bargaining unit unless a majority of the professional employees wish to be included  Certification vote: a vote supervised by a gov’t representative to determine whether a union will be certified as the sole bargaining agent for the unit (if more than 50% of those voting are in favour of the union)  Decertification: process by which employees legally terminate their union’s to represent them  Craft unions: unions organized by trades; usually composed of skilled workers (i.e. plumbers, barbers, airline pilots, etc) o Craft unions restrict membership to workers with specific skills; in many cases, members of craft unions work for several different employers during the course of a year (i.e. many construction workers are hired by their employers at union hiring halls and when the particular job for which they are hired is finished, these workers return to the hall to be hired by another employer) o Craft unions have a lot of power over the supply of skilled workers because they have apprenticeship programs  Industrial unions: unions organized by industry; usually composed of semi-skilled and unskilled workers (i.e. steel, auto, and clothing) o Industrial union members typically work for a particular employer for a much longer period of time than do craft union members o Industrial union has a lot of power regarding pay and human resource practices within unionized firms  Local union (local): basic unit of union organization o A local of a craft union is made up of artisans in the same craft in a small geographical area o A local of an industrial union
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