June 02, 2008

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Surprise Closure of Oshawa Truck Plant: After reaching an agreement with GM to postpone the layoff of 900 workers at the Oshawa truck plant until September 2009, GM has announced its restructuring plans in advance of its annual meeting. Production will be halted at four truck plants in North America -- the Oshawa truck plant, and three other GM plants in the United States and Mexico. The Oshawa truck plant is now slated to stop producing in the third quarter of 2009. Buzz Hargrove has responded saying that the CAW will fight GM's decision as it violates the current collective agreement.

Links: “CAW slams 'illegal' GM move to scrap 4 pickup and SUV plants, including Oshawa,”Canadian Press, June 3, 2008; “GM to halt production at Oshawa truck plant,” CBC News, June 3, 2008; CAW Demands GM Retain Shift at Oshawa Truck Plant, June 03, 2008, CAW website; “Truck plant cuts could force GM to repay government incentives”, by Greg Keenan and John Partridge and Karen Howlett, Globe and Mail, June 3, 2008.

CAW-Canada/General Motors Bargaining Report Highlights of the Tentative Agreement Between CAW - Canada and General Motors Production and Skilled Trades, May 2008 (12 pages, PDF).

Buzz Hargrove: The June issue of the Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine features a story on Buzz Hargrove, the Canadian Auto Workers and the current state of the automobile industry.

Link: “His Way or the Highway: How does Buzz Hargrove always get his way? By bullying, some say. But as Canada's most powerful union leader fights his final battle, it looks more like a master class in brinksmanship,” by John Gray, May 30, 2008, Globe and Mail, (7 pages).

Complying with PIPEDA: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has published online a book intended to aid employers to comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The book highlights cases that deal with current concerns of employers: surveillance, data breaches, trans-border data flows and the use of information collected for secondary marketing purposes.

Link: Leading by Example: Key Developments in the First Seven Years of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA); Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2008 (69 pages, PDF).

The Athena Factor: A Harvard Business Review research report titled, The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology, has been released. The study, sponsored by Alcoa, Cisco, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft and Pfizer, looks at the career trajectories of women with science, engineering and technology credentials working in the private sector. The research examines how corporate culture is keeping women from reaching their full potential and how some corporations are trying to reduce and reverse this “female brain drain.”

Links: The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, et al., Center for Work-Life Policy, Harvard Business Review Research Report, June 2008, Executive Summary (6 pages, PDF); “Fighting the female brain drain,” by Rebecca Dube,Globe and Mail, June 2, 2008. To order copies of this report, visit http://BrainDrain.hbr.org ($295).

Drivers of Engagement Among Top Leaders at Global Companies: A study released by Catalyst has found that women and men executives at major global companies share the same priorities for what they value most in their workplaces and careers. The report found that both women and men want a supportive work environment and challenging work, with only slight differences in how other values were ranked.

Links: Leaders in A Global Economy: Finding the Fit for Top Talent, Catalyst and the Families and Work Institute, June 3, 2008 (22 pages, PDF); News Release.

A Canadian Supplementary Pension Plan: A recent C.D. Howe paper outlines the factors that jeopardize the ability of Canadians to put away adequate retirement savings and offers a plan to provide a decent post-work standard of living for Canadian workers. The author proposes the Canada Supplementary Pension Plan, which would have automatic enrolment, investment and annuitization features and could operate either nationally or at a provincial level.

Link: The Canada Supplementary Pension Plan (CSPP): Towards an Adequate, Affordable Pension for All Canadians, by Keith Ambachtsheer, C.D. Howe Institute (20 pages, PDF).

Conference Board of Canada's 2008 Pensions Summit This Conference e-Proceedings discusses the challenges for organization associated with balancing different interests in pension plan design, management, risk, and investment. It looks at the future regulatory developments that will impact plans as outlined by the expert commissions convened in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. CFO and senior HR leaders' perceptions and attitudes toward the pension funding crisis are also examined.

Link: 2008 Pensions Summit: Securing the Future , Conference Board of Canada, May 2008,Conference e-Proceedings (scroll down to find title -- free for the University of Toronto community).

A Strong Safety Culture in Canada's Health Care Institutions: A recent Canadian Policy Research network paper discusses the importance that workplace environment factors play in creating a culture of safety. The study is based on a 2006 Health Sciences Association of Alberta survey of allied health professional and technical workers.

Link: The Role of Healthcare Work Environments in Shaping a Safety Culture , by Graham Lowe, Canadian Policy Research Networks, May 8, 2008 (10 pages, PDF)

Canada's Changing Labour Force: An article in the current edition of Canadian Social Trendssummarizes the recent census publication, Canada's Changing Labour Force, 2006 Census.

Link: Census Snapshot: Canada's Changing Labour Force, 2006 Census, Statistics Canada, June 3, 2008 (5 pages, PDF).

Where University Degree Holders Live: According to a Statistics Canada paper, university degree holders are more prevalent and are growing at a more rapid pace in large cities than in smaller cities and rural areas. The study finds that it is the ability of cities to both attract and generate degree holders that underlies the high rates of degree attainment across city populations.

Link: Cities and Growth: In situ versus migratory human capital growth, by Desmond Beckstead, W. Mark Brown and K. Bruce Newbold, Statistics Canada, June 2, 2008 (38 pages, PDF).

Productivity in CanadaThe most recent edition of the International Productivity Monitor has two articles on Canada: “Business Sector Productivity in Canada: What Do We Know?” by Paul Boothe and Richard Roy and “ An Analysis of the Causes of Weak Labour Productivity Growth in Canada since 2000”by Jean-François Arsenault and Andrew Sharpe.

Link: International Productivity MonitorNumber 16, Spring 2008.

The Rise of Meaningful Work: The Work Foundation has published an essay that asks what is meaningful work, why more people seem to be seeking it, and what employers can do to make work more meaningful.

Link: Inwardness: The rise of meaningful work, Provocation Series Volume 4 Number 2, by Stephen Overell, April 2008, Work Foundation (49 pages, PDF).

The International Trade Union Confederation on Core Labour Standards in ChinaA report by the ITUC examines the People's Republic of China 's observance of internationally recognized core labour standards. The report looks at freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, discrimination and equal remuneration, child labour, and forced labour in China and makes recommendations for change.

Link Internationally Recognized Core Labour Standards in the People's Republic of China

Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of the People's Republic of China,Geneva, May 21 and 23, 2008 (20 pages, PDF).

Date posted: 
Monday, June 2, 2008