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.
This study examines the case of Northern Telecom & the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union of Canada. The authors look at the North York Plant’s 1993 and 1995 negotiations, and examine what can be learned from these negotiations. What conditions are conducive to the introduction of mutual gains bargaining and what approaches can be taken to ensure the success of the process? How can unions and management can significantly change the way they work together and sustain it for the mutual benefit of all who have an interest in the outcome?
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. Robert McKersie is a Professor in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he holds the Society of Sloan Fellows Professorship.
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.
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. Data were collected from 992 postal workers in Edmonton in 1983. Results suggest that the more stressful working conditions are, either objectively or subjectively, the more likely union members are to be critical of and/or dissatisfied with their union.
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.
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.
There is speculation that Canadian unions will not be able to rise above these challenges, that they are becoming weaker, their future is jeopardized and they are destined to follow the same path as their counterparts in the United States, where there have been significant declines in union membership levels and density.
On the other hand, others feel confident that, despite enormous pressures, the Canadian labour movement has shown remarkable resilience and adaptiveness. Based on a broader approach embodied in its active social unionism strategy, it is felt that unions in Canada are destined to remain dynamic and will therefore continue to diverge from the fate that has befallen American unions.
This report examines the Canadian labour movement:
- The decline in union density by sector and industry.
- The reasons given to explain the decline — the new economic, labour market and public policy environments.
- The new forms of work organization to respond to the changing business environment.
- The effect of the ‘new human resource management’ on Canada’s unions.
- The two divergent views on the future of the Canadian labour movement.
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.
This study draws on three major sources of information: published literature on workplace ETS and smoking policies; unpublished literature from unions, health promotion organizations, employers, etc.; and interviews with over 30 union representatives and officials of health promotion organizations. The issue of workplace ETS and union involvement in policy-making is addressed from the perspective of union-management and union-government relations.
This report was originally prepared for the Health Promotion Directorate, Health and Welfare Canada.
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. Labour, after it recovered from the initial surprise of seeing its political ally actually form the government, quickly realized that it now had access to the highest levels of government. Business, on the other hand, faced with the cold reality that it, rather than labour, was now on the outside began to feel increasingly insecure. This major political shift in Ontario occurred just as Ontario was on the verge of experiencing the most severe economic downturn since the early 1930s, a factor that has further exacerbated the present debate over labour law reform.
The present debate has now focused on the discussion paper released by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour last November. Within this paper are set out a number of ‘preferred options for reforms.’ These ‘preferred options’ include a new preamble to the Act that expressly recognizes the right to organize and participate in lawful trade union activities; the desirability of improving terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining; the need to enhance the ability of employers and trade unions to adapt to change; the desirability of settling collective bargaining differences and providing procedures for the expeditious resolution of disputes.
This publication is a revised version of a speech given on March 24, 1992, at the EquiNet Conference, ‘How to Prepare Now for the Amendments to the Ontario Labour Relations Act’.
This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, held at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario on June 2-4, 1991.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the determinants of union beliefs and attitudes of workers in Canada, and to examine if attitudes towards unions differ systematically by gender, that is, whether men and women differ in their union beliefs and their disposition towards joining a union. Three indicators of union beliefs and attitudes are used in the study: 1) union membership status; 2) general belief that “unions are still needed to protect the interests of working people,” and 3) instrumentality perception that “workers benefit from the actions of unions.”