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SOSC 4240 (3)

Canadian Labour in Crisis by David Camfield

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Social Science
SOSC 4240
Jan Kainer

Camfield Unions in the WorkplaceWednesday October 19 2011953 PMExamining theme What are Unions and What do they doMAIN ARGUMENT Unions today place energies on enforcing administering bargaining and defendingcollective agreements and it has adverse effects where it is stuck in a service modelcontract unionism has placed the work wage effort bargaining back into the Ers favour weakness are demonstrated during strikes Unionism as it exists today is based on contracts not direct actionIt has become a process ofprofessionalizing the unions front line presenceService model seen in grievance where workers file compliant and expect stewards to solve the problemContract bargaining and enforcement because most documents are often long documents with technical language that is difficult for most people to interpretMain issue as a result of the service modelwe see a pattern ofObey now and grieve later Workers turn to the union rep business agent to help them deal with their issueScope of what can be grieved is restricted matters that are covered by provisions of the collective agreementCollective agreements put pressure on employers and the union touphold contracts by ensuring workers comply with their rulesthis can lead to union officials becoming coerced into cooperating with employersGrowing reliance on a grievance procedure to solve their problemsDispute Resolution processes are lengthy and place pressure on unions to have labour law knowledge on past practices and prior ruling by arbitratorsTHERFOREUnion contracts are a double edge swordUnion officials must ensure workers uphold contracts and comply with rulesWorkers dont see union and management as very different as they both assert leadership on themProblems with Collective Bargaining todayUnions today bargain collectively on behalf of their members and their members onlyCB is highly fragmented and only cover those workers who are in the bargaining unitWorkers have little control over bargainingThe balance of workwage effort bargaining tilts in the ER favourCollective bargaining has entailed extensive efforts to overhaul union agreements to give management increased flexibility in employment deployment and wagesThe potential powers and real weaknesses of contemporaryunions are revealed in strikes during hard timesCase Toronto Municipal Workers 2009 StrikeLargest union CUPE and its largest localengaged in a strike for 39 daysWeaknessesa Rank and File system creates a communication problem Local leaders did not clearly explain to members the issues which they were refusing to give concessions before the strike startedtherefore strikers felt lonely and isolatedbLack of public support as local media focused on lack of city services distributed by strikec Management Style Unionism identified leaders did little to rally members to counteract the hostile accusations Chap 1 Page 1
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