Chapter 16 Human Resources Management Notes.docx

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8 Apr 2012
Chapter 16 Human Resources Management Notes
Labour Relations
Labour Union: An officially recognized association of employees practicing a similar trade or employed in the
same company or industry who have joined together to present a united front and collective voice in dealing w/
- Presence of a labour union alters relationship between employees and firm and has implications for planning and
implementing strategy
Collective Agreement (union contract): A formal agreement between employer and the union representing a
group of its employees regarding terms and conditions of employment
Union seniority governs the selection of employees for transfer, promotions, training programs and
specify the order in which employees can be laid off and recalled
Labour-management Relations: Refers to the ongoing interactions between labour unions and management
Collective Bargaining: Negotiations between a union and an employer to arrive at a mutually acceptable
collective agreement
Bargaining Unit: The group of employees in a firm/plant/industry, that has been recognized by an employer or
certified by Labour Relations Board (LRB) as an appropriate for collective bargaining purposes
- Managers in firms that select union acceptance strategy view the union as the legitimate reprehensive of the
firms employees which can lead to win-win outcomes
- Managers select union avoidance strategy when they think its best to operate in a non-unionized environment
To do this they can either adopt a union substitution approach in which they become so responsive
to employees needs, there is no incentive for them to unionize OR
Adopt union suppression approach when there is a desire to avoid union at all costs
Canada’s Labour Laws
Canada’s labour laws have 2 main purposes…
1. To provide a common set of rules for fair negotiations
2. To protect the public interest by preventing the impact of labour disputes from inconveniencing the public
- 13 provincial/territorial jurisdictions, as well as federal labour relation legislation
Some LR Legislation characteristics includes…
- Procedures for certification of a union
- Requirement that a collective agreement be in force for a minimum of 1 year
- Prohibition of strikes/lockouts during the life of collective agreement
- Establishment of labour relations board: made up of reps of union and management and a neutral chair
The Labour Movement in Canada Today
- Primary goal of unions active in Canada is to obtain economic benefits and improved treatment
Business Unionism: The activities of labour unions focusing on economic welfare issues including pay and
benefits, job security, and working conditions
- A lot of unions today have become involved in larger political/social issues affecting members…
Social (reform) Unionism: Activities of unions directed at furthering the interests of their members by
influencing the social and economic policies of governments at all levels
Types of Unions
Can be classified by…
1. Type of worker eligible for membership. An industrial Union is representing all workers eligible for union
membership in a particular company or industry, including skilled trades/
2. Geographical Scope: National unions = Canada Only, International unions = Charter branches in both U.S and
Canada, also can be local unions
3. Labour Congress Affiliation: According to affiliation with one or another central labour organization
A. Canadian Labour Congress: Major central labour organization in Canada where most international and national
unions belong as well as all directly chartered unions, local labour councils, and provincial/territorial federations
of labour
B. Confederation of National Trade Unions (CNTU): The Quebec counterpart of CLC
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C. American Federation of Labour Congress of Industrial Organizations: American counterpart of CLC
Union Steward: A union member elected y workers in a particular department or area of a firm to act as their
union representative
Membership Trends
- Union membership decreased since 1980s, in 2008 around 30% Canadian employees were unionized
- Dramatic increase in service sector jobs, combined with a decrease in employment opportunities in the industries
that have been traditionally highly unionized are responsible for decrease
Current Challenges Facing the Canadian Labour Movement
- Global competition and technological advances pose challenges
Global Competition
- Global competition is forcing employers to come more militant and unions are struggling to maintain their
influence at the bargaining table
- Some unions face choice of negotiating or having their jobs go to low cost countries
- Some companies face being unable to compete and having to go out of business
-Aging of the workforce and pending labour shortages affects unions b/c managers and unions will have to work
together to attract and retain workers
- Retention concerns may make employers more willing to offer job security in exchange for promises of
productivity and flexibility from unions
Unionization of White-Collar Employees
- Service sector works (retail stores, fast-food etc.) have been targeted for organizing campaigns
- Since these jobs tend to have more women and young people, focus has shifted on work/family issues and health
& safety risks
Step 1: Desire For Collective Representation
- The desire to unionize can be linked to job dissatisfactions (with pay, benefits, working conditions etc.), lack of
job security, unfair administration of policies, perceived pay inequalities, lack of opportunity for advancement,
lack of a desired influence or participation in work-related decisions etc.
- Unionized employees in Canada earn 8% more than non-unionized workers
Step 2: Union Organizing Campaign
- Once interest in joining is established, process begins in typically 5 steps…
1. Employee/Union Contract: Formal organizing campaign may be initiated by union organizer which can be
employee who gets in touch with an existing union or a group of union organizers that are of staff etc.
2. Initial Organizational Meeting: Organizer and individuals who 1st expressed interest meet to identify employees
who would be willing to help the organizer direct the campaign
3. Formation of an in-house organizing committee: Comprise group of employees who are dedicated to the goal of
unionization and who are willing to help the union organizer
4. The Organizing Campaign: Members of in-house committee contact employees and encourage them to sign an
authorization card that indicates their willingness to be represented by the union in collective bargaining
5. The Outcome: Outcome could be rejection by majority of employees for acceptance. For a union to become the
bargaining unit for a group of employees, it must be certified by an LRB or receive official recognition by
Signs of Organizing Activity
- Disappearance of employee lists/directories, more inquiries than usual about benefits/wages/promotions,
questions about their opinions on unions, increase in number of employee complaints, sudden popularity of certain
employees, appearance of strangers in the parking lot, distribution of cars/ buttons are all signs for
management to look for if union is being formed
Employer Response to an Organizing Campaign
- If employer wants to stay non-union, a careful campaign is usually done to counteract union drive
usually HR staff head members head up campaign and may be assisted by labour lawyer
Supervisors must be carefully trained on want they can and cannot say during the campaign
- As much info as possible should eb gathered about union (dues, strike record, salaries of officers etc.) and
communication strategies can be planned to remind employees about company’s good points
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