Young Workers and the Union Movement in Canada
Stephanie Noel, Queen's IRC Business Development Manager
Many young workers don't feel connected to the labour movement. They see it as a relic from previous generations, something that may have helped their parents but isn't helping them, and something that might even be preventing them from obtaining good jobs. So what can unions do to win over young workers?
This question was discussed at a recent roundtable discussion on the future of unions in the private sector hosted by the Canadian HR Reporter, and sponsored by Queen's IRC.
Todd Humber, the Canadian HR Reporter's managing editor, moderated the roundtable discussion. He asked panelists how unions are perceived by the youth, and what unions will need to do to win over the hearts and minds of young workers.
Anna Goldfinch, the national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario, represents 300,000 students in the province of Ontario. She said that what they are seeing is a job market that's leaving young people behind.
"The youth unemployment rate is double that of the adult unemployment rate here in the province and we're seeing a rise in precarious work and underemployment for youth. We're drowning in debt, because we can't find jobs, and the jobs that we can find are non-unionized."
Elaine Newman, an arbitrator and mediator, and instructor for Queen's IRC, acknowledges the issue of youth underemployment. "They are out of school, with student debt, with nothing but energy and ambition, and they are shut out."
"As unions reinvent themselves and re-examine the fundamental guiding historic principles like seniority, occasionally someone gets up the nerve to say, is seniority working now that we have this valuable resource that we can't employ?"
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>> View the full 16-minute roundtable video
The Government of Alberta's Organizational Design Journey
The Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education's Experience Using the 4-D Process
Marina Christopherson, Dianna Wilk and Judi Carmichael, Government of Alberta
In early 2013, the Government of Alberta (GoA) Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education's review of their organizational structure began. This was part of an overall GoA-wide commitment to reviewing ministry structures. The intent was to ensure that the roles within the organization and branch/divisional structures, aligned with the current and future business needs. The executive team supported this approach and agreed that the Queen's IRC's model of organizational design, or the 4-D's, was the process the department would use to complete the reviews.
The Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education's Human Resource (HR) department was tasked with taking a lead role. Our Executive Director of HR was very proactive and supportive by ensuring that as many HR consultants and managers as possible had taken the Queen's IRC Organizational Design course. The HR department temporarily structured themselves in a way that would allow for the focus of this work. We created a team of eight HR consultants and managers whose primary role for 6-8 months would be working with divisions and branches, using the model and implementing the design down to the employee level. This opportunity was a new way of working for HR, and the approach was also new for our clients. Our goal was to have all divisions complete their review by March of 2014. Putting the 4-D's into operation across six divisions, and multiple branches was going to be a large challenge in such a short period. Human Resource consultants and managers were the key facilitators. Previous branches within the Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education had completed design work using the 4-D's, so we knew the process worked well.
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Interviews with LR, HR & OD Experts Available Online
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. We have recently uploaded more video interviews, listed below. All of the interviews are available on our YouTube channel, and a complete list can be found on our website. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
Anne Grant - Facilitator for the Labour Relations Foundations and Mastering Fact-Finding and Investigation programs
Peter Edwards - Guest Speaker for Labour Relations Foundations and Change Management