April 28, 2008

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Back-to-Work Legislation for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113: On April 27th the striking TTC workers were legislated back-to-work by the Ontario Legislature. The strike which began Friday night was a surprise for two reasons – the proposed contract, recommended by union leadership, was not ratified by the membership and the union did not give Toronto residents the 48 hour strike notice that had been promised. It has been reported that maintenance representatives on the union's executive board attempted a “coup” against the union president Bob Kinnear. Kevin Burkett, a former chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, has been appointed the arbitrator in the case. Premier McGuinty has said that he will consider making the Toronto Transit Commission an essential service if the city requests. Both the Toronto Transit Commission Chairman, Adam Giambrone, and Toronto's Mayor, David Miller say that an analysis or study is needed first.

Links: Bill 66, Toronto Public Transit Service Resumption Act, 2008, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, (9 pages, PDF); Bill 66 website (provides link to debates and related information)

“ Coup at TTC union blamed for strike: Dissenters on board pushed for walkout,” by Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail, April 29, 2008.

“Move to declare TTC 'essential' gains momentum,” by Jennifer Macmillan and Jennifer Lewington,Globe and Mail, April 29, 2008.

“Major debate on union's right to strike is imminent, mayor vows,” Karen Howlett and Jennifer Lewington with a report from Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail, April 28, 2008;

“Future negotiations likely to come under scrutiny,” by Martin Mittelstaedt, Globe and MailApril 28, 2008.

CAW and Ford Reach an Agreement: The CAW and Ford have quickly reached an agreement on a “Master Economics Offer”Local agreements have yet to be reached before a tentative agreement can be offered to CAW members for ratification. Highlights of the Master Economic Offer include:

  • new-hire, grow-in system, where wages, COLA, SUB benefits, and time-off provisions are phased in (starting at 70% of base wages) over the first three years of work; after three years, wages reach 100% of base wages
  • the St. Thomas assembly plant remains open until to 2011
  • COLA payments frozen for remainder of current contract and first year of the new contract. Quarterly COLA wage adjustments resume under existing formula Dec. 2009

The news of General Motors cutting 900 jobs at its truck assembly plant in Oshawa did not offer such a positive outlook for the CAW.

Links: CAW Beats Back Two-Tier Wages, Wins Reprieve for St. Thomas Plant, CAW, April 28, 2008; “Ford wins cost cuts in pivotal labour pact: Surprise CAW deal that lowers wages for new workers sets stage for GM, Chrysler talks,” by Greg Keenan, Globe and Mail, April 29, 2008; “GM cuts 900 in Oshawa,” by Tory Zimmerman, Toronto Star, April 28, 2008.

National Day of Mourning for Workers who Died or were Injured in the Workplace: The National Day of Mourning, held annually on April 28, was officially recognized by the Canadian federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to approximately 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.

Links: National Day of Mourning - April 28, 2008, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. National Day of Mourning, Canadian Labour Congress; CP Trains Pause for Day of Mourning,Canadian Pacific Railway, April 26, 2008

50 Best Workplaces in Canada 2008: The Great Place to Work Institute Canada has published the 2008 Best Workplaces in Canada. The report was published as a Special National Report in theGlobe and Mail on April 28th and is also available on the web. The report features best practices that the top companies use to build employee trust and appreciation.

Links: 50 Best Workplaces in Canada, The Great Place to Work Institute Canada, April 28, 2008 (10 pages, PDF); Great Places to Work Canada website.

Workplace Flexibility: The Families and Work Institute has published a guide to innovative approaches and practices created by organizations to both support employees needs for flexibility in the workplace and to increase business success. The companies and organizations featured are the 2007 winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.

Link: 2008 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work: New Ideas from the 2007 Winners of the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, The Families and Work Institute, 2008 (90 pages, PDF)

Conference Board of Canada releases – available to the University of Toronto community from the Conference Board's e-Library  (if you have not signed up the sign up page will come up when you click on the links below)

Human Resources Transformation: Transformation involves improving HR efficiencies to allow a greater focus on strategic issues. The presentations in this e-proceeding discuss outsourcing, and shared services options, and look at how successful organizations transform the HR function to meet the need for greater strategic input.

Link: HR Transformation 2008: Optimizing the Strategic Capacity of HR, Conference Board of Canada
e-Proceedings, April 2008, (scroll down to find this title). Once on the presentations page you can click on the title of each presentation and listen or click on ATTACHMENTS in the upper right corner of the screen and download the PDF, when available, or slide presentation)

Workplace Health and Mental Well-Being: The presentations in this e-Proceeding provide strategies for improving the health and effectiveness of employees. It discusses preventing work-related stress, the leader's role in mental health, educating employees on mental health issues, and building a mental well-being framework.

Link: Workplace Health 2008: The Battle for Mental Well-being, Conference Board of Canada e-Proceedings, April 2008, (scroll down to find this title). Once on the presentations page you can click on the title of each presentation and listen or click on ATTACHMENTS in the upper right corner of the screen and download the PDF, when available, or slide presentation)

Compensation of Canadian Boards of Directors 2007: Board costs are escalating--up 53 per cent over the past two years. This paper is the Conference Board's biennial survey on the fees, retainers, and other compensation paid to directors for board and committee service. It provides benchmark data on compensation practices and summarizes key factors in the board operations of a cross-section of the Canadian business, both public and private.

Link: Compensation of Boards of Directors, 17th Edition: Cost of Running Boards Escalates, by Judith Lendvay-Zwickl, Conference Board of Canada, April 2008, (40 pages, PDF) available to the University of Toronto Community via the Conference Board e-Library (scroll down for title)

Ranking Canada's Competitiveness: Three recent studies rank Canada in terms of international competitiveness. The World Economic Forum places Canada 13th among 131 countries, KPMG International ranked Canada second after Mexico in a 10 country survey of cost competitiveness, and the Economist Intelligence Unit put Canada fourth in its ranking of 20 countries on a business-friendly scale. In an article in the Toronto Star, David Olive discusses the studies and questions the validity of the World Economic Forum rankings.

Links: The Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008World Economic ForumCompetitiveness Alternatives Download (links to several detailed reports) KPMGDenmark remains on top of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Business Environment Rankings, Economist Intelligence Unit; “Canada fares well on competitiveness scale” by David Olive, Toronto Star, April 28, 2008.

The North American Competitiveness Council: The Council, composed of a group of business leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, was created in 2006 to gather advice from the private sector on ways to enhance North America's competitive position. The Council's 2008 report recommends promoting broader public understanding of the benefits of liberalized trade and investment within North America.

Link: Meeting the Competitive Challenge, The North American Competitiveness Council, April 22, 2008 (20 pages, PDF )

Foreign Credentials Referral Office Progress Report: The Government of Canada has released the progress report of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office. Since its launch less than a year ago the agency has helped newcomers and prospective immigrants find the information they need to put their skills to work in Canada.

Links: Progress report 2007-2008 Foreign Credentials Referral Office: Helping foreign-trained workers succeed in Canada, Government of Canada, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, April 22, 2008 (24 pages, PDF); News Release, April 22, 2008.

Retirement Timing of Couples: With the increased participation of women in the labour force, the retirement decision of couples becomes more complex: two retirement decisions must be made. A study by Statistics Canada examines the extent to which couples synchronize the timing of their retirements.

Link: “Retiring Together, or Not”, By Grant Schellenberg and Yuri Ostrovsky, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada, April, 2008 (7 pages, PDF).

Changes in Job-Related Training, 1993-2002: A study by Statistics Canada looks at changes in job-related training from 1993 to 2002. It describes the social and demographic characteristics of participants and examines factors that affected training such as self-funding versus employer funding.

Link: “Work-related training” by Matt Hurst, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada, April 2008 (10 pages, PDF).

Corporate Social Responsibility and Workers' Rights: There has been much discussion in recent years about the extent to which corporate social responsibility contributes to the promotion of workers' rights as embodied in the ILO conventions and national law. A study by the International Institute for Labour Studies at the ILO examines the legal aspects of the issue.

Link: Governance, International Law & Corporate Social Responsibility; International Institute for Labour Studies, 2008 (222 pages, PDF).

Date posted: 
Monday, April 28, 2008