June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

Summer has arrived and the Perry Work Report will now go on holiday until September. Have a great summer holiday!

Gaming: Union Stalwarts vs. the Scabs

A new video game titled Crane Wars is available free online at Blurst.com. According to the website, “It's Union versus Scab in this dueling crane game! Build up your Union construction site while sabotaging the opposing Scabs.” The game designer Steve Swink has a degree in political-science and an interest in 20th-century labour movement. Why not give it a try!

Toronto Star, June 28, 2009: Union battles play a big role in new video game

Play Crane Wars (free!) on Blurst.com

If you decide to play these reviews are helpful:

Some Thoughts on Crane Wars Written by John Walker on June 16, 2009 – a negative review from an unhappy gamer

A positive review of Crane Wars, June 17, 2009


Does the Recession have Labour Unions in Retreat?

On the CBC’s Cross Country Checkup, Canada's only national open-line radio program, for Sunday June 28, 2009 the subject for discussion was, “Unions on the ropes? As the recession bites into jobs and wages of workers from the auto industry to forestry, popular support for growing public sector strikes is wearing thin. Just ask the citizens of Toronto and Windsor. Is it fair? What do you think? Are labour unions across the country in retreat? “

Cross Country Checkup, June 28, 2009 with guest host Ann Medina "Has the recession put labour unions in trouble?" (listen to the program in Mp3 or to the Podcast)

Cross Country Checkup website: scroll down to a very useful list of links to articles from major Canadian media sources

E-mails to Cross Country Checkup responding to the Question "Does the recession have labour unions in retreat?"


Toronto Strike: two newspapers three points of view

Globe and Mail, June 30, 2009: A back-to-work order would be bad news for Toronto: The cop-out labour strategy would simply lead to another strike in a few years, by Marcus Gee

Globe and Mail, June 25, 2009: Strike pushes Torontonians' survival skills to limit, by Christie Blatchford

National Post, June 19, 2009: What’s the deal with union benefits? Unions in PR battle for benefits in bad times Megan O'Toole


Possible Strike at the Globe and Mail

Editorial, advertising and circulation workers at the Globe and Mail, Member of Local 87-M of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union rejected the most recent offer made by management -- talks resumed Tuesday June 29, 2009. According to Brad Honywill, president of Local 87-M of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, members want improvements in the pension scheme and job security and will not accept "significant salary cuts" proposed for some job classifications.

Globe and Mail, June 29, 2009: Globe union rejects offer, but talks set to continue: 89-per-cent rejection made just days before July 1 strike deadline

CEP Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild (S.O.N.G.): Bargaining Bulletin #11 Talks On Again 89% Rejection of Company Offer

Access to all CEP Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild (S.O.N.G.) Bargaining Bulletins concerning the Globe and Mail strike


CUPE Wins Casual Workers' Rights in New Brunswick

In a decision released on June 17, 2009, Justice Paulette Garnett of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench ruled that the New Brunswick Public Service Labour Relation Act is contrary to section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights which protects the right to freedom of association. Justice Garnett stated that for many years the province, as an employer, has subjected casual workers to practices which can “only be described as unfair.” The judge is giving the province one year to remedy this situation. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) launched legal proceedings in September 2005 to obtain rights for those workers. Thousands of temporary or seasonal workers employed by the province could be affected by this decision.

Quote from the decision:

“Questionnaires collected by the union from casual workers in the hospital sector in all parts of the province in June 2004 have produced a variety of evidence of frustration and discouragement among workers who considered themselves subject to a number of unacceptable conditions, including unequal pay for equal work; lack of health, vacation or pension benefits; lack of security in their work assignments; lack of seniority in applying for better positions; lack of acknowledgement from supervisors and fellow workers; exposure to harassment of various kinds, and arbitrary scheduling without reference to family or other obligations. Despite years of work in some cases, short layoffs before the completion of six months service or regular reassignment to new duties and departments was regarded as a device for rendering long-term workers ineligible for employee status. The conditions described by these workers, and their manifest frustration in seeking to activate their rights, confirms the status of casual workers as a separate caste of disadvantaged workers with inferior access to rights under the law."

CBC, June 18, 2009: N.B. unions declare victory in casual-worker lawsuit against government

Lancaster House, June 29, 2009: Charter gives casual workers right to unionize, judge rules

CUPE v. PNB, 2009 NBQB 164, June 17, 2009: The decision of the Court of Queen's Bench, (29 pages, PDF)


New Edition of the Workplace Bulletin

The Workplace Bulletin, issued by the Labour Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, keeps you apprised of ongoing developments and provides access to timely customized information on industrial relations and collective bargaining. The current edition includes, The Readers’ Corner, featuring the new edition of the text, Canadian Labour and Employment Relations, by Morley Gunderson and Daphne G. Taras, Toronto: Pearson Addison Wesley, 2009.

Workplace Bulletin, June 30, 2009

Readers’ Corner


The New Towers Watson

Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt have merged companies. According to the announcement, the new company namedTowers Watson will focus its operations on three segments: benefits, talent and rewards, and risk and financial Services.

Globe and Mail, June 28, 2009: Towers Perrin, Watson Wyatt to merge in $3.5-billion deal: The new firm will be called Towers Watson & Co., and have expanded global reach

Press release, June 28, 2009


Occupational Health and Safety Information Resources

Here are some links to sources on Canadian Occupational Health and Safety.

CANOSH: Canada’s National Workplace Health and Safety Website – bookmark this one! it has links to all resources available for every province – this website is really all you need. For example you can click on Resources in the top bar then click on the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada National Work Injury Statistics Program (NWISP) for the most comprehensive workplace injury statistics available in Canada. Links to legislation for all the provinces and territories is also available, as well as many other resources.

CCOHS: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website

Subscribe to CCOHS Health and Safety Report - an email newsletter

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Workplace Health and Safety website Includes: links to Federal legislation, Occupational Injuries and Diseases in Canada, 1996 – 2005, and links to Provincial and Territorial Workers' Compensation Boards


Proposed Changes to the Canada Pension Plan

Changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) were recommended by federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance on May 25, 2009. The proposed changes will provide greater flexibility for older workers to combine pension and work income if they so wish; modestly expand pension coverage; and improve fairness in the Plan’s flexible retirement provisions. The proposed package is affordable within the current CPP contribution rate of 9.9% on earnings up to average wages and could improve the long-term sustainability of the Plan.

Information Paper: Proposed Changes to the Canada Pension Plan, Proposed by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Finance Ottawa, May 25, 2009


Employment Insurance Reform

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a new study, titled Canada’s Declining Social Safety Net: the Case for EI Reform. The study finds that Canadian EI benefits are well below a large majority of OECD country averages. This study also concentrates on the effectsof a weakened EI system on Canadian families, as well as proposed reforms as this economic recession continues to drag on.

Press Release, June 30, 2009

Report, June 30, 2009 (28 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, June 30, 2009: Canadian EI payments below OECD average: study, by Tavia Grant Jobless benefits more meager in Canada than in other industrialized countries, and less generous than in previous recessions, report says.


Report on Business Magazine 25th Anniversary Issue

The Globe and Mail has published the 25th Anniversary issue of the Report on Business Magazine. It includes the top 1000 rankings by industry as well as brief synopsis of the cover story from the archives when you click on any of the 25 Favourite ROB Covers.

ROB Magazine, June 26, 2009: Top 1000: Pain, No gain

Globe and Mail, ROB June 2009 Edition Top 1000 Publicly Traded Companies

25 Favourite ROB Magazine Covers


Best Practices in Employee Volunteering

The Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship has released a paper titled, Mapping Success in Employee Volunteering: The Drivers of Effectiveness for Employee Volunteering and Giving Programs and Fortune 500 Performance. The report presents an absolute and a relative benchmark of effectiveness for employee volunteering. The absolute benchmark is composed of the six practices or drivers that, according to research, generate community and company impact. The relative benchmark consists of findings from a survey of over 200 Fortune 500 companies that measured collective compliance with the drivers and identified best practices from high performers.

Report, May 4, 2009 (52 pages, PDF)


The Boston College Centre for Corporate Citizenship has also released a paper titled, Moving to Next Generation Corporate Citizenship. The paper looks at how leading companies have progressed beyond legal compliance, checkbook philanthropy and stakeholder management to define a next generation of corporate citizenship that takes it from the margins to the mainstream of their business. The authors depict this movement through a developmental model: the stages of corporate citizenship, from an elementary to an engaged, innovative, integrated and, in some instances, transformative approach.

Report, May 11, 2009 (22 pages, PDF)


Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth

According to a report titled, The Clean Energy Economy: repowering jobs, business and investments across America,released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the number of jobs in America’s emerging clean energy economy grew nearly two and a half times faster than overall jobs between 1998 and 2007. Pew surveyed fifty states to find the actual jobs, companies and venture capital investments that supply the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products and services.

Press release, June 10, 2009: Pew Finds Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth

The Pew Charitable Trust: Clean Energy Economy Summary and Links, June 10, 2009

Report, June 10, 2009 (62 pages, PDF)


Book of the Week

Agitate! Educate! Organize!: American Labor Posters, by Lincoln Cushing and Timothy W. Drescher. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2009. 205 p. ISBN 978-0-8014-7427-9 (pbk.)

“We seek to inform as well as to celebrate. The best posters about American workers and the jobs at which they labor make up a visually fascinating body of work that rewards our attention. The posters were produced with a dual purpose: to entertain and to inform. They were also vehicles for working people to present themselves visually, which is rarely as straightforward as it might seem because the labor force itself is not monolithic. Nor are the posters about just paid or wage labor. They repeatedly demonstrate that labor issues include both the workplace and the outside community and often portray families and neighbors, not just fellow workers.”—from Agitate! Educate! Organize!

About the Authors: Lincoln Cushing is the author of Revolucion! Cuban Poster Art and coauthor of Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Timothy W. Drescher is the author of San Francisco Bay Area Murals: Communities Create their Muses, 1904-1997.


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Copyright © 2008 Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Date posted: 
Monday, June 29, 2009