For the vast majority of unionized and non-unionized workers, it is the day–to-day interactions that determine whether the workplace is a productive, engaged environment, or one that preoccupies everyone with conflict, grievances and problems. Where each workplace falls on that spectrum will largely determine productivity, quality, absenteeism, as well as retention and recruitment.
Labour unions are at a critical time in history. Unions are working to engage the current membership and exploring new innovative communication strategies that are needed to reach the younger generation in a meaningful way. Gone are the days of the bulletin board as the primary sources of union news and updates.
The labour movement in Canada has a long and proud history of success and positive community involvement. Throughout the years however, union membership levels across North America have been on a steady decline. Many would argue the decline in the ranks of unions is attributed to stronger labour laws protecting workers, less interest by the young workers entering the workforce and a more transient workforce demanding flexibility and merit over seniority.
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.
The Ontario mining industry in the mid-70’s faced accident rates higher than any other industrial sector. In 1976, there were 19 fatalities, 12.5 lost time injuries (LTI’s) per 100 workers. Wildcat strikes by miners in Elliot Lake and considerable political pressure on a minority government, led to the creation of the Royal Commission on Health and Safety of Workers in Mines.
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.
The purpose of this report is to determine whether women are increasingly being involved in the decision-making process of Canadian unions. The scope of review of this report is restricted to public sector unions and one private sector union in the province of Ontario. A combination of methods were utilized in completing this study, including an overview of existing research, a review of statistical data, and an analysis of policy statements, convention resolutions and general union literature.
The institution of collective bargaining, central to public policy with respect to employment relations, requires a well functioning labour movement. There is evidence that labour organizations in the role of employer are subject to labour conflict which, if unresolved, threatens the collective bargaining regime. The survival of the movement is at risk in terms of its principles, credibility, and effectiveness as protector of the interests of the worker and promoter of social reform.
The Canadian labour movement entered the 1980s in a state of great uncertainty. Following almost forty years of steady uninterrupted growth the union movement in Canada experienced in the early 1980s losses in the total number of union members. Although these losses in the absolute number of union members were recouped in the mid-1980s, the proportion of nonagricultural paid workers who are union members dropped from 1983 to 1986 to a level that had been achieved in the mid-1970s.