Labour Relations

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Chapter 16: Labour Relations
Labour union: an officially recognized association of employees practicing a similar trade or employed in the same company or industry who have joined together to present a united front and collective voice in dealing with management. -the purpose of unionization are to influence HR policies and practices that affect bargaining unit members such as pay and benefits.

Labour- management relations: the ongoing interactions between labour unions and management in organizations -managerial discretion and flexibility in dealing with employees and in implementing and administering HR policies/procedures are reduced.

Collective agreement (union contract): a formal agreement between an employer and the union representing a group of its employees regarding terms and conditions of employment.

Collective bargaining: negotiations between a union and an employer to arrive at a mutually acceptable collective agreement

-an organization’s labour relations strategy, one component of its HR strategy, is its overall plan for dealing with unions, which sets the tone for its union-management relationships.

-union acceptance strategy- view the union as the legitimate representative of the employees. -union avoidance strategy- prefer to operate in a non unionized environment. (Walmart)

-to avoid unions, companies can either adopt a:
-union substitution approach- become so responsive to employees’ needs that there is no incentive for them to unionize -union suppression approach- when there is a desire to avoid a union at all costs (Walmart)

Canada’s Labour Laws
-Canadian Labour laws have two general purposes:
1. To provide a common set of rules for fair negotiations 2. To protect the public interest by preventing the impact of labour disputes from inconveniencing the public. -common characteristics of labour relations across Canada (copy p439)

Types of Unions:
1. Type of worker eligibility for membership.
a. Craft union- traditionally, a labour organization representing workers practicing the same craft or trade, such as carpentry, nurses, teachers b. Industrial union- a labour organization representing all workers eligible for union membership in a particular company or industry, irrespective of the type of work performed. 2. Geographical Scope.

c. International, national, or local unions
3. Labour congress affiliation.
d. Affiliation with one or another central labour organization

-local: the basic unit of the labour union movement in Canada, formed in a particular location.
-the union locals are generally the most important part of the union structure -key players within the local are the elected officials known as the union stewards, who are responsible for representing the interests and protecting the rights of employees

-as of 2008, just over 30% of Canadian employees were unionized. -the membership in unions as a % of the labour force has been slowly decreasing since the 1980s -various factors responsible include, a dramatic increase in service sector and white-collar jobs, combined with a decrease in employment opportunities in industries that have traditionally been highly unionized (manufacturing), and more effective HR practices in non-unionized firms

Current Challenges facing the Canadian Labour Movement:
Global competition:
-forcing employers to become more militant, and unions are struggling to maintain their influence at the bargaining table. -jobs moving to lower-cost countries
Demographics:
-the aging workforce and pending labour shortages affect unions
-HR and unions need to work together to attract and retain workers -retention concerns make employers more willing to offer job security in exchange for promises of productivity and flexibility from unions -pension and benefits for older workers

Unionization of white-collar employees:
-focused on work/family issues and health and safety risks (repetitive...
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