Queen's University IRC

Labour Relations Foundations

Individual Employee Performance Management in Union Environments: The Emperor goes to Abilene

Why is there no consensus about best practices for managing individual employee performance (IEP) in unionized workplaces? This paper discusses the reasons, investigating the success of collectivist or high-performance work systems; why managers and unions need to address IEP issues and what’s in it for them; what academic research says about best practices; and workable …

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Whither the Trade Unions?

The trade union movement in Canada, as in many other industrial countries, is in the throes of change. Among other things, it is grappling with pressures stemming from the rapid pace of economic and technological change as well as shifts in business practices, employment patterns and social attitudes. This report briefly examines some of the challenges facing trade unions on the eve of the new millennium.

Labour Law Leads the Way

Labour relations has always played a leadership role in Canada. Businesses and unions represent vital interests in our communities. Their interactions have set many of the important ground rules by which we live. This is because work and work opportunities are central to us all. It is upon businesses or jobs that we build our lives. The content of labour law is therefore very telling about a society and its direction.

Disaggregating the Sexual Division of Labour: A Transatlantic Case Study

This paper explores the adequacy of several theories advanced to account for the sexual division of labour – neoclassical, dual labour market, marxist feminist, and technologically determined – by comparing the historical processes by which the gender segregation developed in the hosiery and knit goods industry in Canada and Britain in the period 1890 to 1950. It argues that the sexual division of labor is formed within the shifting mutuality and antipathy of gender relations and the relations of production so that theories of sexual segregation must integrate rather than isolate class and gender based processes.

A Change Strategy for Industrial Relations: When the Old Meets the Future at CP Rail

This article from 1996 takes a look at CP Rail, and the tremendous pressures for change it was being confronted with. Environmental forces, government policy and the responses of management and labour to their environment had a significant impact on industrial relations policies and practices at CP Rail. The story at CP Rail represents a classic case of an old system of industrial relations finally yielding to overwhelming forces for change.

Transforming Workplaces

While Robert McKersie was visiting the Queen's University School of Industrial Relations and the Queen's University Industrial Relations Centre to give the annual Don Wood Lecture in Industrial Relations, Mary Lou Coates took the opportunity to talk with Robert about his views and theories on the future of industrial relations and human resource management.

Labour Unions in Canada Today

In spring 1995, Bob White met with Pradeep Kumar and Bryan Downie of the School of Industrial Relations at Queen's University for a conversation on the labour movement in Canada, where it is and where it is going, and on Bob White's vision of the role and future of the movement..

Overview of Labour Law in Canada

George Adams presented this paper at the 1994 US-Mexico-Canada Conference on Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Washington, DC. According to Adams, Canada's participation in the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation is important because it encourages us to explore our country's labour laws at both the federal and provincial levels so that we are better equipped to confront the issues we jointly face in a global economic environment.
 

Stressful Working Conditions and Union Dissatisfaction

This paper examines the relationship between stressful working conditions and union members' dissatisfaction with their union. Few studies to date have examined this relationship and existing studies report contradictory findings. That is, some studies find that stressful work is associated with satisfaction with the union while other studies find either no relationship or that stressful work is associated with dissatisfaction with the union.

Developments in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Practices in Canada: An Update from the 1980s

This study was undertaken as part of the Structural Change in Canadian Industrial Relations project at the Centre for Industrial Relations, University of Toronto. The Canadian industrial relations system has followed a course of incremental change and adjustment over the past decade that leaves intact the basic institutional framework and relationships among labor, business, and government. Thus, the system, while changing in ways that are similar to employment relations in other industrial nations, has not undergone any dramatic transformation.

Canadian Labour’s Response to Work Reorganization

This paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, Carleton University, Ottawa on June 3-5, 1993. The paper is based on a larger study of the role of unions and collective bargaining in human resource innovations undertaken by the author as a part of a research project on Human Resource Management in Canada under the auspices of Industrial Relations Centre, Queen's University.

Freedom of Religion in the Workplace: Legislative Protection

Current Human Rights legislation protects workers from discrimination on a number of grounds including religion. This paper looks at the history of legislation prohibiting discrimination and reviews current legislation to determine how freedom of religion is protected in the workplace. Precedents from discrimination cases are outlined to give an indication of how cases are currently being settled. Finally, the paper looks at cases concerning freedom of religion in the workplace over the past fifteen years to assess whether the legislation is in use and is effective.

Is There a Future for the Canadian Labour Movement?

The labour movement in Canada has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. Intense global competition, economic integration and restructuring, trade liberalization initiatives such as the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, rapid and pervasive technological change, the growing service economy and dramatic changes in the growth and composition of the workforce have ushered in a drastically altered economic, labour market and public policy environment within which unions operate.

Unions and Workplace Smoking Policy

Do you remember when workers could smoke in the workplace? This article was written in 1992, at a time when concern over environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) was being identified as a leading occupational health hazard and policy makers were instituting smoking restrictions and bans in workplaces.

Labour Law Reform: Radical Departure or Natural Evolution?

The current proposals to amend Ontario's collective bargaining laws have given rise to a loud, and frequently intemperate, debate that has not only divided Ontario's labour relations community but has now moved to the centre of Ontario's political stage. Underlying this debate is a realignment of the relative political influence of business and labour that came with the NDP's election victory in the fall of 1990.

Canadian Industrial Relations in the Year 2000: Towards a New Order?

Canada's industrial relations system faces a rapidly changing external environment in this last decade of the 20th century. Significant and far-reaching changes in our economic, political and legal environment are already being felt and even more changes appear to be on the horizon. The question squarely facing Canada's industrial relations community is the extent to which these important changes will reshape our existing industrial relations order.
 

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