Labor Relations in Canada Notes

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grievances
If a grievance cannot be solved internally (within the organization), it may end up being sent to an arbitrator. Issues can move between the lower and highest levels of court.

Laws of the land are subject to:
-Reasonable limits as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. -Governments can invoke the notwithstanding clause.

Law can consistently change; it is never in a fixed state as more cases are solved every day.

Charter Rights
Charter rights are not absolute in Canada, unlike the case in the United States. Courts may curtail your rights in a justifiable manner. (Hate speech vs. free speech). A charter right has to fall on a protected ground. If you feel that a personal right has been violated, it has to be indicated on the charter as a “protected ground”. The government of Quebec, in particular, has invoked the notwithstanding clause in many cases as far as language is concerned (school and sign laws which technically violate the rights of Anglophones).

The right to strike is contained in provincial or federal legislation, but it is NOT a charter right. This means that the government does not need to respect your charter rights if it deems you must return to work.

Union Dues:
-Teachers objected to their union dues going into political causes they did not support. -U.S. courts ordered the union to rebate dues.
-Canadian courts upheld the restriction on freedom of association. Unionism includes legitimate social and political goals, and is beyond collective bargaining.

Picketing
Usually associated with a strike. Involves individuals standing outside an area of work/a business that is being struck (or is about to be struck), voicing their beliefs/the reason they are striking. Secondary picketing is part of freedom of expression. (Refer to the Pepsi-Cola case).

Union Recognition (1994)
Trade union and collective bargaining rights extended to agricultural workers.

Review of Supreme Court Decisions:
-Political Activity (1991): Upheld a challenge to restrictions on the political activities of civil servants. -New direction (2007): Collective bargaining believed to be a constitutional right. Freedom of association was guaranteed. (i.e.: B.C. Health Services. The government changed a standing collective agreement, which was frowned upon.)

Employment Conditions:
Employment Standards & Employee Rights:
-Hours of work
-Overtime
-Scheduling of Hours
-Coffee and Meal Breaks
-Exclusions
-Human Rights
-Health & Safety
-Pay & Employment Equity

“Hiring a waitress with blonde hair only”: Anyone can technically have blonde hair (also, a general statement such as this cannot technically be covered under the charter’s protected ground). Naturally occurring blonde hair may fall under discrimination by race, which is deemed an unreasonable restriction on human rights, as it falls under protected ground.

Pay & employment equity can actually be a form of discrimination due to the fact that employers are coerced into having a preference for minority groups over similarly capable workers. This can be found as a form of discrimination, depending on opinion.

International Law:
3 KEY CONVENTIONS:
i.Convention 87: freedom of association and protection of right to organize (1948). (Ratified by Canada, 1972) ii.Convention 98: right to organize and collective bargaining (1949). (Not ratified by Canada) iii.Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). (Voted for by Canada)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Canada and the U.S.
American Federation of Labor
-Samuel Gompers, 1886
-Exclusive jurisdiction (one union per craft): all members represented by the same bargaining agent. -Business unionism (pure and simple, bread and butter):
-Political non-partisanship: unions in Canada and the US not aligned as closely to their natural allies as they do in Europe.

The Years of Struggle
1990-1920
-...
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