Textbook Notes (367,930)
Canada (161,511)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCB54H3 (23)
Chapter 7

Chapter 7.docx

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Julian Tanner

Chapter # 7Unions, Industrial Relations, and Strikes Introduction o 2004, provincial government introduced legislation to force their striking employees back to work o Strikers who challenged the legislation faced dismissal o Legislation imposed 4 year collective agreement, included wage freezes for 2 years followed by modest increases and more contentiously from the workers’ perspective, cut sick-leave allotments in half o Wal-mart is world’s largest corp. o Ongoing battle b/w Wal-mart ad UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Canada highlights the rights of workers o NHL lockout shows that collective bargaining has extended far beyond its origins among manual labourers in mines and factories into high-profiles occupations o THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT o No singles issues stands out as the diving force of unionization o Workers historically have rallied collectively to oppose the imposition of arbitrary management power, to protect their jobs and retain some semblance of control over the labour process o WHY DO WORKERS UNIONIZE? o Selig Perlmanafter studying International Typographical Union (oldest union in America), he concluded that workers develop an awareness that jobs are scarce and must, therefore, be protected through unionization o Unions can b viewed in 5 different ways as moral institutionsfighting against injustices and inequalities, revolutionary organizations, psychological or defensive reaction, responses to economic realities, and political organizations o Unionize to gain greater control over their jobs, fair treatment and rewards o Mainstream industrial relations theory views the system of job regulations as the core of worker- management relations o Richard Hyman states ‘in every workplace there exists an invisible frontier of control’ o Conflict and Cooperation in Union-Management Relations o Collective bargainingthe process by which a union, on behalf of its members, and an employer reach a negotiated agree (called collective agreement or a contract that defines for a specific time period wages, work, hours and schedules, benefits, and other working conditions, and procedures for resolving grievances o Collective agreements are designed to reduce conflicts o Workers and management have different definitions of social justice and economic reality o Stephen Hillworkers and management must cooperate to provide goods or services yet each side strives to maximize its own interests o Zero-sum gamesituation in which one side can gain something only if the other gives up something o Win-win situationin which both workers and management benefit. This approach to negotiations is called mutual gains bargaining o Unions as ‘Managers of Discontent’ o For many Marxists, unionism embodies a basic contradiction by striving to solve workers’ problems within the confines of capitalism o Lenin, father of Russian Revolution, dismissed trade unions as capable only of reform, not revolution o Union functions as manager of discontent and today they operate in ways that contribute to the maintenance of capitalism, seeking reforms that smooth its rough edges o Robert Michelsfirst to investigate problems of union bureaucracy and democracy o Michels’s iron law of oligarchydraws technical, organizational, and psychological explanations…leaders develop expert knowledge which givee hem power o WHAT DO UNIONS DO o Daily activities of unions focus on two types of goals: control over work and the rewards of work o Frequent compromises b/w control over the labour process and economic rewards o Workers may be forced by their immediate economic needs to pursue the latter to the exclusion of the former o Business Unionismemphasis on material gain rather than job control o Public Opinion about Unions o Canadian public opinion has become less favourable toward the role of unions in our society o Two different images of unionism o Big labour imagesees unions as too powerful, believe that they harm society, and thinks, therefore, that they require greater government regulation o Business Unionism imagefocuses on the positive gains in wages and working conditions unions have made through collective bargaining o Both are reinforced by media o People join unions becauselack of trust in one’s employer, not having a supportive and healthy work environment, dissatisfaction with pay and job security o The Economic Impact of Unions o On average, unionized workers earn 10 percent more than non-unionized workers do o Union members are more likely to have pension plans provided by their employer…more paid vacations and holidays dental and medical plans, and better job security o Contribute to reduce overall wage inequality in nation’s labour market o Advantages depends on where you work; workplace size and type of employment matter o Barriers to unionizationrestrictive legislation, lack of interest among unions o Richard Freeman and James Medoffuseful distinction b/w two ‘faces’ of unionism o Monopoly face represents unions’ power to rise members’ wages at the expense of employers and other workers o Collective voiceshifts attention to how unions democratize authoritarian workplace, giving workers a collective voice in dealing with management o Unions improve productivity through lower employee turnover, better management performance, reduced hiring and training costs and greater labour-management communication and cooperation o THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CANADIAN LABOUR MOVEMENT o Craft Unionism o Skilled craft workers were the first to unionize o Events that laid the foundations for trade unionism in Canada were the Nine-Hour Movement in 1870s, involving working-class agitation for shorter working hours, and the creation of Trades and Labour Congress (TLC) in 1883 ad the first central labour body o Craftsmen (there were no women among them)the aristocrats of the working class o Craft unions were organized according to specialized craft skills, served their members in several ways; form of social insurance years before the rise of welfare state o Iron moulders’ unionfirst to international union to set down permanent Canadian roots in 1959 o Industrial Unionism o Industrial Unionismwhere all workers in an industry are represented by the same union, regardless of their occupational skills…first one ever was Knights of Labourit’s goal was to organize all workers into a single union, regardless of sec, skill level, craft, or industry of employment o Syndicalismwhich held that international industrial unions and general strikes are the main vehicles for working-class emancipation o Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the 1930s to organize unskilled and semiskilled workers in mass-production industries o CLC (Canadian Labour Congress) is Canada’s ‘house of labour’ o CLC promotes the economic, political, and organizational interests of affiliated unions by providing research, education, and organization and collective bargaining services, as well as by eliminating jurisdictional conflicts and organizational duplication o Quebec Labour o Quebec…its laws are derived from the Civil Code of France, rather than British-based common law o Development of unions in Quebec followed a different path from that of the rest of Canada…unlike their counterparts elsewhere, emphasizes was on the common interests of employers and employees o Quebec’s Quiet Revolutionushered in major social, economic, and political reforms in the 1960s o Quebec Federation of Labourrepresents a minority of union members in the province and operated in a more independent manner o THE ROLE OF THE CANADIAN STATE IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS o Conciliationfact finding o Four major phases in the development of the legal framework for industrial relations in Canada o 1.pre-confederation phasecommon law prohibited collective bargaining o 2.entered with Trade Union Actneutralized the legal restrictions on unionism, but did not grant workers positive legal rights or protections that facilitated collective bargaining o 3.Modern phasegranted employees in the private sector collective bargaining rights, set down union certification procedures spelled out a code of unfair labour practices o 4.rise of public-sector unions o The Rand Formulanames after Justice Ivan Rand, it states that no one should be required to join a union, because a union must act for the benefit of all employees in a workplace is it justifiable to automatically deduct union dues from the paycheques of all employees in a workplace regardless of whether or not they actually belong to the union o Public Service Staff Relations Actopened the door to unions in the federal civil service o Permanent Exceptionalism reflecting how the suspension of labour’s rights have become the rule o UNION MEMBERSHIP TRENDS o Unionization rate—or Union densityreflects the proportion of actual union members to potential members. Agriculture is not part of it but some employees from agriculture are still part of it o Page 356the chart suggests three major spurts in membership growth, first two coincided with
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