As media scrutiny over schoolyard and cyberbullying pervade the news, allegations of workplace harassment and bullying are on the rise. While the popularization of the terms “bullying” and “harassment” has both educated and empowered employees to assert the right to a respectful workplace, it has conversely sometimes resulted in overuse of the terms and meritless complaints in relation to reasonable management measures. Employers are left with the difficult task of managing all competing interests to ensure a safe, respectful and productive work environment.
Labour Relations Foundations
Most people are familiar with the old adage that defines true insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Then why, in labour relations, do we continue using the same processes and methods that have not yielded positive results for us in the past? Well, some parties have learned this lesson and are trying new approaches in their search for win-win outcomes of negotiation.
In April 2014, as Lori Aselstine began her retirement from the Government of Ontario, she sat down with Queen’s IRC to talk about her career, the HR profession and practising HR in an environment that is 85% unionized. Lori talks candidly about her experience rising through the ranks in the Government of Ontario, as well as the challenges and opportunities that come from working in labour relations for the government, which often plays the role of the employer and legislator.
The word “strategic” gets thrown around pretty loosely these days – it’s one of those business buzz words meant to instill confidence that we’ve thought this through and it’s all under control: trust us, we’ve got a strategic plan! But there’s more to it than just calling something “strategic”. The term “strategic” implies there is a thoughtful, organized strategy guiding your efforts; that a particular issue has been viewed in the broader context and your decision to proceed is based on the impacts that decision will have across the organization
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.
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. These interviews are now available on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
Unions face many negative perceptions, such as the notion that union workers are lazy, under worked, have job security for life, and enjoy gold-plated benefits and pension packages that others can only dream about. In light of this, how can unions overcome their PR problem? This question was one of many that was put to a panel of labour relations practitioners and experts recently, at a roundtable discussion sponsored by Queen's IRC, and hosted by the Canadian HR Reporter.
Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser (Fraser), there has, predictably, been widespread speculation as to its eventual effect on the labour relations landscape in Canada. A departure from other recent SCC case law, Fraser found that there was no constitutional guarantee for any specific form of labour relations or collective bargaining regime. Even if the decision was significant in shaping Canada’s constitutional framework for collective bargaining, any tangible effect on labour policy has yet specifically to materialize
The theory of "workplace health" can be best described by comparing a workplace to a human being. As humans, our health is often affected by the choices we make regarding diet, exercise, stress and generally the way we choose to live our lives. Poor diet, excessive stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and destructive behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse can often lead to poor health.
Understanding and complying with the employer's legal duty to accommodate disabled employees is one of the biggest challenges facing labour relations professionals today. This is particularly so in the case of mental health issues. The statistics are telling. It has been reported that one in six Canadians will suffer from mental illness at one point in their lives and that one out of every four to five employees is affected by mental health issues every year.
This report is based on a survey of school administrators in two regions of Ontario. It probes several areas, such as administrators' perspectives on the labour relations environment, the relationships between administrators and staff, the role of administrators in conflict management and dispute resolution, and the potential effectiveness of labour relations-focused professional development for school administrators and other education sector stakeholders.
In November 2011, the IRC launched a 37-question survey, "An Inquiry into the State of LR in Canada." The purpose of this survey was to describe the state of the labour relations (LR) profession in Canada, based on the perspectives of practitioners. This Executive Summary presents an overview of the aggregated survey data. This practitioner-focused research complements our 2011 exploration of the state of the human resources profession in Canada, and builds on the IRC’s 2009 labour relations survey.
Jean passed the talking piece to Kimberly. You could see her shoulders straighten, a deep intake of breath, a glance around the circle of her assembled colleagues. She was steeling herself to say what was difficult but necessary. Kimberly explained that, for her, the constant putting down of customers and negativity around workplace conditions was unacceptable and made it difficult to enjoy and take pride in her work.
How can human resources professionals bargain and build meaningful relationships with the union during tough economic times? In her recent presentation at Queen’s IRC’s Labour Relations Foundations program, Ontario Nurses’ Association President Linda Haslam-Stroud provided sound advice for signing off on successful collective agreements. In the following excerpts from her talk, Linda shares her top …
Employers may be relieved now that the Supreme Court of Canada has reversed steep punitive damages in a high-profile wrongful dismissal case involving a disabled worker. But accommodating the needs of employees who have disabilities – in particular depression – is not getting any easier, says Queen’s IRC Facilitator Anthony Griffin. Griffin is counsel for …
Trends and pattern of union membership and density as well as organizing activity are clear signs of stagnation and complacency in the labour movement. While some unions are doing better than others, the labour movement as a whole appears to be at standstill. It is also evident that there does not appear to be any …
In a case that pitted B.C. health unions against contentious labour legislation, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last fall that collective bargaining is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision significantly changes the lives of many Canadian labour law practitioners and policy-makers, says Kevin Banks, assistant professor in Queen’s University Faculty …
Rob Hickey, a facilitator in the Queen’s Master’s of Industrial Relations program, says restructuring is the big issue of 2007 for both labour and management. Below, Rob – who worked as an organizer for the Teamsters for a decade in the United States, and earned his MA and PhD from Cornell University’s School of Industrial …