Chapter 12 – Employer-Employee Relationships
Labour-Management Relations – The ongoing economic and social interactions between
labour unions and management in organizations.
Labour Union (Union) - An officially recognized association of employees practicing a
similar trade or employed in the same company/industry who have joined together to
present a united front and collective voice in dealing with management.
Labour Relations (LR) Strategy – An organizations overall plan for dealing with unions,
which sets the tone for the union-management relationship.
- Union Acceptance Strategy – A LR strategy based on managements view that the
union is the legitimate representative of the organizations employees
- Union Avoidance Strategy- LR strategy based on managements preference to operate
in a non-union environment. There are two possible approaches: union substitution
and union suppression.
o Union Substitution (Proactive HRM) Approach- Union Avoidance strategy
that involves removing the incentives for unionization by ensuring that the
needs of the employees are met.
o Union Suppression Approach- Involves the use of hard-ball tactics, which
may or may not be legal, to prevent a union from organizing the firm’s
employees or to get rid of an existing union.
Labour Relations Board (LRB) – The legally recognized body that is responsible for
interpreting, administering, and enforcing the labour relations legislation (not in Quebec).
Provincial/Territorial Legislation – Commonalities
• Certification procedures
• 1 year collective agreements
• No strikes/lockouts during life of contract
• Prohibition of unfair labour practices
• Labour relations boards to enforce legislation
Unfair Labour Practices- Action by the employer or the union the restrains persons from
exercising their lawful rights under the labour relations statuses.
Unfair Labour Practices by Management:
• Interference with union activity by employees.
• Participating in union activity
• Changing/threatening to change working conditions during certification or
• Refusal to bargain in good faith
• Penalizing employees for refusing to act as replacement workers
• Intimidating employees re: union membership Unfair Labour Practices by Unions:
• Conducting union business on company time/premises without consent
• Refusing to bargain in good faith
• Discrimination against union members on prohibited grounds
• Intimidating employees re: union membership
• Threatening/authorizing unlawful strike.
Business Unionism – The activities of labour unions focusing on economic and welfare
issues, which include pay and benefits, job security, and working conditions.
Social Unionism- Activities of unions directed at furthering the interests of their members
by influencing the social and economic policies of governments at all levels, such as
speaking out on proposed legislative reforms.
Classifications of Unions:
Craft Unions – Represent workers who practice the same craft/trade, such as carpentry or
Industrial Unions – Represents both skilled and unskilled workers in a particular
International Unions – A union with branches and members in both Canada and the US,
the head office of which is in the US.
National Unions – Union that charters branches in Canada only and has its head office in
1. CLC: Canadian Labour Congress – 70.7% all unionized workers in Canada
2. CSN: Confederation des Syndicats Nationaux
3. AFL-CIO: American Federation of Labour-Congress of Industrial Organizations
Current Labour Market Challenges:
1. Global competition and international change
2. Unionization of white-collar employees
3. Innovative workplace practices
Union Membership in Canada:
Local – The basic unit of the labour union movement in Canada formed in a particular
plant or location.
Union Stewards- A union member elected by workers in a particular department or area
of a firm to act as their union representative.
Chief Steward – The union steward for a particular area/division. Reasons to decide to Unionize: job dissatisfaction, lack of security, unfair administration
of policies, perceived inequities in pay, lack of opportunity for advancement, lack of
influence on work-related decisions, belief that unions can improve working conditions.
Signs of Organizing Activity: disappearance of employee lists/directories, increased
inquiries about benefits/wages, questions on managements opinion on unions, increase in
number/nature of grievances, change of composition/size of informal employee groups,
popularity of certain employees and cessation of conversation when manager approaches,
appearance of strangers in parking lot, distribution of cards/flyers.
Employer Rights: express views on unions, state position on remaining non-union,
prohibit union activity on company property/time, increase wages in normal course of
business, gather employees to state company’s position if purpose is stated in advance,
attendance is optional, or there is no threats/promises.
Labour Relations Process:
1. Employees decide to unionize
2. Union organizing campaign
3. Union recognition process
4. Collective Bargaining Prcess
5. Contract administration
Union Organizing Campaign:
1. Employee-union contact
2. Initial organization meeting
3. Formation of in-house committee
4. Organizing campaign
Union Organizers – Full-time employees of the union whose role is to plan/execute union
membership recruitment campaigns
In-House Organizing Campaign – Group of employees dedicated to the goal of
unionization who are willing to assist the union organizer.
Authorization Card- Card signed by an employee that indicates his/her willingness to
have the union act as his/her representative for the purposes of collective bargaining.
Union Recognition Process
- Voluntary Recognition – doesn’t require 3 party
- Regular Certification – automatic certification/representation vote
- Pre-Hearing Votes – in event of irregularities, to engage support
- Termination of Bargaining Rights Representation Vote – Employees in the bargaining unit indicate by secret ballot whether
they wish to be represented by a labour union.
Pre-Hearing Vote- An alternative mechanism for certification used in situations where
there is evidence of irregularities early in the organizing campaign, such as unfair labour
practices on the part of management.
Bargaining Unit – The group of employees in a firm, plant, or industry that has been
recognized by an employer or certified by a LRB as appropriate for collective bargaining
Collective Bargaining – The negotiations that take place between a labour union
representing the employees, and the employer or employer’s association to arrive at a
mutually acceptable collective agreement.