Labour Relation

11 November 2016

He is aware that launching a full organizing campaign is an expensive proposition for the union, in time as well as resources, and his personal reputation as a successful organizer is at stake. That being said, the union needs additional members as their overall membership has decreased in recent years. The decrease in membership has meant a decrease in union dues and a resultant loss of manpower and resources in the union offices. All of the full time personnel in the union are spread very thin so, if the union proceeds with the organization drive, they have to be successful.

The vast majority of the employees in the company are women who have been in Canada for less than five years. Question #1 What major events in Canada’s labour relations history got Phil to the point in which he could lawfully organize a union, have it certified, and negotiate a collective agreement with the company? Answer: The major events in labour history are the division between craft and industrial unions, the influcen of the US-based AFL, and 1944 change in legal environment with the passage of legislation supporting collective bargaining.

Labour Relation Essay Example

One of the first international unions to operate in Canada was the Knights of Labour. The union organized members in Canada in the 1880s. The Knights organized unskilled labour as well as those belonging to particular trades and crafts. The union was also successful at organizing on a plant basis. In Canada, the Knights had given some workers their first opportunity to belong to a union. Being said, this event marked an important step so people could affiliate to a union. The Knights were very popular in Quebec and eventually combined with craft unions to establish the Trades and Labour Congress.

As a result of international unions operating in Canada, information about the law in the United States was followed closely. The Committee for Industrial Organizing was very active in Canada for unions based in the United States. In 1937, the Trades and Labour Congress prepared a draft statute for provinces to adopt, taking a great many ideas from the Wagner Act. All provinces, except Ontario and Prince Edward Island, then passed laws based on the draft statute, which confirmed that collective bargaining was legal.

This legislation made it illegal for an employer to interfere with the rights of an employee or to refuse to bargain with a union that represented the majority of the workforce. Later, Ontario passed a law that went further in establishing a Labour Court to deal with issues of union selection. As a result of the Snider case in 1925, in times of national emergency the responsibility for the civil rights of employers and employees reverted to the federal government. During the Second World War, the federal government passed laws regulating industries associated with the war effort, in fact covering most industries.

The laws were consolidated into the Wartime Labour Relations Regulations (1944), which were also known as PC1003. PC1003 tried to achieve a balance between the competing rights of employees, both individually and collectively, and the rights of employers. Therefore, unions were not allowed to interfere in employers’ organizations or to use tactics to force union membership. Unions could only carry out union activity at a workplace during working hours with the agreement of an employer and could not cause any restrictions on production such as slow downs.

Employers were not allowed to interfere in union affairs or to discriminate against workers who took part in union activities. Certain employees were not included in the law, for example, those who could hire and fire, and those working in agriculture. Perhaps most importantly a comprehensive system of collective bargaining was established. In conclusion, with all those major events in the history of labour relations, benefit the future allowing any individual to create a union, certified and negotiate a collective agreement with the employer. Question #2 hat strategies can Phil use to increase his chance of success in organizing an union within this company? Answer: Phil has to create an organizing committee of the best activists that can meet weekly or to coordinate the work, help each other with issues that come up, and build solidarity. Phil must fully understand all the standard arguments employers use to intimidate their workers and defeat the union and they must develop effective tactics to respond to any attack. Phil must radiate competence. He must be able to give clear, sincere and convincing answers to workers, many of them skeptical about unions.

He must be able to handle all sorts of difficult situations. Whatever the challenges, he must not lose his composure and temper. One of the most important strategies is to involve as many of the workers as possible in the actual organizing activities. They must make the workers feel that it is their union and they will play a major role in all decisions. For Phil to be successful in organizing a union within this company he has to ensure that he is fully prepared in indentifying and resolving any obstacles the Employer will throw in his way.

Employers, most of the time, use both illegal and legal deterrents with their employees to prevent the formation of a union. If an employer decides to use legal means such as forming a employee representative (a joint committee) or matching rates of pay that a union may offer; it is Phil’s opportunity to show and convince the employees with facts that in the long term this will only benefit the employer as that committee will belong to the Company and not them.

Phil should also ensure that the women who are relatively new to Canada are well informed of the benefits that having a union would bring to their work life. Educating himself on the Company’s demographic, i. e. the age of the working population within the company is a very important factor and one which in its self almost guarantees his success. Younger workers are often harder to convince as they do not have the years of experience working and knowledge that a older worker will have.

It will be Phil’s job to ensure that they are aware of the benefits that the union will bring for example, improving the conditions of the workplace and providing a median ground between them and the employer and an alternative that may make the difference between getting fired and keeping their job. In essence for Phil to be successful he has to be very knowledgeable of the Company he is entering and ensure that the employees are well informed of what the union has to offer them; not only in the short term but long term also.

Question #3 what barriers will Phil face in his attempt to attract these workers to the union, and what arguments will he use to try to convince them to join? Answer: There are four significant matters that pertain to this case. One of them is the fact that this firm employs mostly women. This could potentially be a barrier for Phil if he does not properly address the different needs that women have in comparison to men. Women in the workplace have different priorities such as equal pay and work-life balance.

Traditionally, men were given higher paying jobs than women in order for them to support their family. Today, this is no longer the case as women now contribute to the household or are the single income earner for their household. Despite this fact, women in Canada earn wages 28% lower than men. It is believed to be the result of women working in women dominated jobs such as child care or secretarial jobs which have historically always paid lower wages.

It is also the result of women taking time off work to care for their family (excluding maternity leave) and less unionization amongst women. This should be particularly concerning for the women workings in this firm because it is likely that the garment industry is a female dominated industry affected by the pay gap that many other women face. The second concern that women have is work-life balance. This term refers to prioritizing work and personal time, including family. It is common for women to care for the household and children both in a single parent and two-parent households.

Hockey practice, dance lessons, school plays and other children’s extra- curricular activities and school related activities can be demanding on parents especially when they still have to work and take care of the home. In order for Phil to overcome this barrier he should convince the women that as a result of joining the union, the union will advocate for flextime, which would allow them to complete the hours required by their job, but also to complete any other personal obligations outside of work such as picking up their children from school.

In addition, the union could advocate for a child-care program within the workplace. Finally, the fact that the women in this industry are likely to be a victim of the gender wage gap is an excellent way for Phil to convince the women to join the union. Unions fight for increased wages and the women may view joining the union as a way to overcome this unfortunate reality. Another consideration for Phil is that the majority of women working in the garment firm have been in the country for less than five years. This may be especially challenging for Phil if hey come from a region of the world where workers have fewer rights and unions are not common. The foreign workers in this Canadian workplace may feel that the Employment Standards Act provides them with more protection than what they had while living in their home country and that unionization would be unnecessary. For example, an American immigrant working in Canada is already better off than they were when working in the United States. In the U. S. , workers are not entitled to paid maternity leave, have a lower minimum wage, and less job security than their Northern neighbors.

Therefore, American workers in Canada may feel that they are already fortunate with the opportunity to have a paid maternity/paternity leave, increased minimum wage, and more secure jobs Foreign workers who come from less fortunate parts of the world, would likely feel even more privileged than an American who lives a lifestyle comparable to that of a Canadian. The majority of immigrants in Canada come from the Middle East region of the world. Women there have significantly less rights and workers in general are not treated in the same manner as those in Canada.

The International Labour Organization website reports that in the Middle East and Arab States, worker safety and pay is of particular concern at the moment. For those workers coming to Canada, the increase health and safety regulations and wages that enable them to live above the poverty line are significant advancements in terms of their working conditions. So much so, that they may not even consider a union to be necessary in their workplace. To combat this, Phil can use the workers greed.

He can demonstrate to them what the Canadian standards for working are and how they can benefit even more by joining the union. According to Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, everyone is selfish and will complete evil acts to better themselves. If we consider this philosophy to be true, then the foreign workers, even though better off, will know that they can still better themselves and will choose to join the union in order to do so. The third barrier that might weaken Phil’s chances to attract these workers to the union is the fact that the union has limited resources in time and money.

It’s essential to have guidance by a resourceful union representative who has with them the influence and resources of a powerful organization. The organizer must be capable of matching the organizational strength against the employer, who usually has the advantage of greater economic resources. Phil’s greatest asset in recruitment is his fifteen years of experience within the union. He can explain to the employees how he joined the union and became an active member, including his experience in the union and its achievements. Empathy is a powerful influencing technique.

Phil can talk to potential recruits more than once and get them to talk to their colleagues. Employees are more likely to be recruited by colleagues they already know and trust. By recruiting a few influential employees, Phil can get most of the workers on board without having to launch a full size expensive campaign. The fourth barrier that can weaken Phil’s chances to recruiting new members can be that the company has preventative measures put in place. The company’s wages and benefits may be comparable to the union’s rates within the garment industry.

The union representative can overcome preventative measures by educating the work force on their rights as employees. The company might not educate their employees on the right for collective bargaining or correct grievance procedure. The union will have to convince the majority of workers that the introduction of a union will better their lives by giving them better working conditions, rights, wages and benefits. The employer might not protect the employees. Employers will only provide the basic rights required by law whereas unions will give the workers the basics and beyond.

Unions are essential in protecting workers rights. Workers cannot negotiate individually. Unions will provide employees with the collective power that cannot be obtained individually. If workers didn’t think their workplace was safe, the only way to guarantee that the employer provided a safe work place is by having the workers unite under a collective bargaining agreement. Phil will have to hold information sessions explaining these sometimes un-discussed issues. Question #4 What specific argument would the company try to use to convince employees not to join?

The specific arguments that the company would try to use to convince employees not to join are: oAre you sure a union will be able to represent your personal needs? They represent a group majority. Unions cannot promise raises or increased benefits; this is negotiated by the company and the union representing you. oA Union can prevent some flexibility for the company In that we will not be able to negotiate individual terms for employment. oHave you thought of how your seniority will impact you directly in regard to things like work shortages, promotions, and cross training or job movement? Are you aware of and do you support the political and social activities the perspective union is involved in? oHave you considered what services you will receive in return for union dues paid? Do you know how much the union dues are? Other strategies and actions employers can take to hopefully avoid unions during and prior to a campaign: Working within the confines of fair labour practices the employer will be able to do a number of things to fully educate their employees about unions while putting measures in place to protect the workers and protect their company rights.

They must do this in a manner that remains neutral and in no way comes across as intimidating, threatening or appears as though they are coercing employees to not unionize. Secondly, they must also ensure they do not make promises or add/increase benefits due to the defeat of the union . Proper education provided by an employer can affect how well employees really understand the impact of unionizing. Hopefully it will help to make employees understand the pros and cons to them of unionizing while providing a clearer picture of what changes may occur.

During a union campaign sometimes the facts can get distorted (only the positives are mentioned) and ensuring your employees receive the best information is your first line of defense. Educating them on such things such as the voting process, all about union dues, collective bargaining, and impact on them if a strike should occur (the pay) are good examples of what needs to be communicated. Imagine your employees who don’t want a union not showing up to vote because they don’t support it. If they knew how the process worked and how votes are calculated they could have impacted the final result.

All employees need to be aware that they must be present for the vote no matter what their decision (with the exception of provincial legislation allowing certification based on majority of cards signed). During the education process it is very important that both perspectives get stated to ensure that employees truly know what they are signing up for. Another example would be explaining the certification process and how difficult it is to remove the union should they decide they don’t want to be represented. It is very difficult to reverse and may be a point that an employee has never considered.

These types of information can be distributed in handouts, posted on company bulletin boards or in person provided they keep the message to the facts and follow fair labour practices. Protection of the worker and employer rights is somewhat limited but can be accomplished. Don’t allow union organizers to harass your employees. Your workers need to know that it is against the law for the union and it organizers to bully, threaten, intimidate or coerce employee to join the union and such cases can be dealt with by the company. The employer can and should prohibit entry into their workplace by non-employees and limit entry to employees on shift.

They can also establish rules that prevent solicitation of union membership during working hours. Make your employees aware that they have a right not to speak to union organizers or attend their meetings and they have no obligation to provide personal information about themselves or anyone else to anyone acting on behalf of the union. By enforcing these few things it will force all union activities to occur on the union/union supporters/ employees own time and help ensure work time is used to explain/educate both sides of unionizing.

Another legal strategy is reinforcing your “open door policy” while assuring the employees that the company will always provide correct facts. Explain that management will always be willing to discuss any subject frankly with employees and should they choose to be represented by someone outside the company (the union) that is their right. Remember in this case a majority of the employees are women who have immigrated to Canada less than 5 years ago. In their past they might not have been represented fairly in groups. The point should be made “will the union be looking out for their specific needs”?

Or is dealing directly and or even independently with the company going to serve them better? The employer also has a legal right to respond to union claims provided they do so using fair labour practices. Statements such as “we have always respected your opinions and have always been willing to work with you on an individual basis to achieve “win- win” situations has been our preference but we are willing to accept your desire to be represented by an outside group”. Ensuring you are not discriminating against the union but allowing employees to see they are adding a middle man.

It should also be said that the employer should also provide training for management and supervisors to ensure they are prepared to answer questions properly and avoid claims of unfair labour practices. This will prepare them to reply to any untrue or misleading statements made by the union in a correct and legal manner. Sometimes employees are not aware of all of the benefits that their employer provides and so it would be in their best interest to point out the positives. This can be done by describing the good features of working for the company; all the benefits, job security, and company policies.

In some cases preparing information on your current wage status if competitive with the surroundings may be advantageous as well. Depending on the circumstances you could also explain how unionizing may impact current practices (company policies). For example: how the promotion policy may change; from promoting by experience and merit to a seniority based system. Last but not least the employer has the right to carry on with normal working conditions and practices prior to the statutory freeze and during it.

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