March 09, 2009

March 9, 2009

Sefton Lecture on March 12th

The 27th Annual Sefton Memorial Lecture presented by Woodsworth College & the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources is titled the Roots of Crisis: How Growing Inequality Sowed the Seeds for an Economic MeltdownThe speaker is Hugh Mackenzie, Principal, Hugh Mackenzie & Associates, Economic Consultants and former Research Director for the United Steelworkers of America and Co-Chair and Principal Analyst for the Ontario Alternative Budget of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The evening will also include presentations of the Sefton Award for Contributions to Industrial Relations and the Morley Gunderson Prize. The Sefton Award Winner for 2009 is Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers and the Morley Gunderson Prize winner is John Mastoras Partner, Lawyer, Ogilvy Renault LLP. 

When & Where: March 12, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., University of Toronto Multi-Faith Centre, 569 Spadina Avenue (Entrance off Bancroft Avenue)

Conference Announcement, for March 12, 2009


Crisis in the Manufacturing Sector Seminar in Montreal

The Inter-University Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) has organized an outreach seminar on the Crisis in the Manufacturing Sector in Canada, United States and Mexico. “The manufacturing industry is presently in profound disarray. Plant closures, job losses, restructuring and reorganizing reflect the many difficulties by which companies, workers, and communities are confronted.”

The seminar, to be conducted in simultaneous translation, will take place in Montreal on Wednesday, March 25th, from 7 pm to 9h30 pm and Thursday, March 26th, from 9 am to 5 pm.

It will be a unique opportunity to meet and exchange with renowned scholars and labour market partners concerned by this crisis in North America.
In addition to discussing the causes and major trends, the seminar will tackle the following themes:

In addition to discussing the causes and major trends, the seminar will tackle the following themes:the restructuring processes and the impacts on labour relations; the strategies which actors (unions, employers, and government)should use in response to the changes taking place; and the future of manufacturing sector in North America.

CRIMT website (scroll down)
Leaflet & Registration


CAW Reaches Tentative Restructuring Deal with General Motors

The proposed agreement reduces the average workers earnings to $63 from $70, which is about a 10% reduction in labour costs. Some of the major features of the tentative contract include:

  1. existing CAW-GM contract extended one year to expire in September 2012
  2. base wages are frozen for the remainder of the contract
  3. quarterly cost of living adjustments for wages are suspended until June 2012
  4. no annual cost of living adjustments to pensions
  5. paid time off is reduced by an additional 40 hours per year (40 hour reduction in vacation pay implemented beginning in 2009)
  6. annual $1700 special bonus payment is diverted to help offset the cost of retiree health care benefits
  7. expenses for union-sponsored programs (including training, child care facilities, wellness programs, and national coordinators) are reduced by about one-third.
  8. a new monthly co-pay premium which will collect $30 per month from active workers and pensioners under 65, and $15 per month from pensioners over 65 and surviving spouses. Other health benefits affected by reduced caps or increased co-pays include dental, long-term care, life insurance, and tuition benefits
  9. the agreement is contingent on the company receiving government financial assistance and recommitting to a proportional Canadian manufacturing presence (including specific product commitments in GM's respective plants)

Approximately 10,000 CAW members will vote on the contract in ratification meetings scheduled on March 10 and 11 in Oshawa, St. Catharines, Windsor, and Woodstock.

A presentation by Jim Stanford looks at some of the ‘myths” that surround the Big Three’s employment figures, labour costs and productivity.

CAW Announcement, March 8, 2009

Globe and Mail Update, March 10, 2009: “GM had a gun to the CAW's head – and missed,” by Derek DeCloet

The Political Economy of industrial Policy: Auto Industry Facts and Fiction (presentation by CAW Economist Jim Stanford), February 2009


Division within TCEU Local 416

City of Toronto Library Workers are voting on March 10, 2009 on whether to stay in Toronto Civic Employees Union – TCEU Local 416 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. A change in the union’s leadership appears to have been the cause of the possible split.

Globe and Mail, March, 7, 2009: The City’s new Labour Kingpin: Paramedic Mark Ferguson is a fresh face for the powerful outside workers' union. But his reign is off to a rocky start

TCEU Local 416 website


More Social-Networking and Less E-mailing

Neilson Online has released a research report that looks at the increasing use of social networking sites and the reduced reliance upon email for communication. The report is titled, Global Faces and Networked Places: A Nielsen report on Social Networking’s New Global Footprint, March 2009.

Report, March 9, 2009 (16 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, March 10, 2009: “The medium is no longer the message: E-mail appears increasingly passé as social-networking sites overtake it for fourth place in overall online activity,” by Omar El Akkad


Living Wage Question

A recent opinion piece in the Globe and Mail titled, “The Living Wage Mystery” finds the role of living wage policies in reducing poverty questionable. The author has also published a paper titled, Why a ‘Living Wage’ Doesn’t Kill Poverty: examining Canada’s newest social policy, available on the Frontier Centre for Public Policy website. A very thorough analysis of living wage policies titled, The Economic Impact of Local Living Wages, is available on the Economic Policy Institute website

Globe and Mail, March 9, 2009: “The Living Wage Mystery,”by Peter Shawn Taylor

Paper, March 2, 2009 (18 pages PDF)

EPI Briefing Paper, February 16, 2006


Literacy Skill and Earnings of Immigrants

A Statistics Canada article titled “Earnings differences between immigrants and the Canadian-born – The role of literacy skills” is available in the publication Education Matters: Insights on Education, Learning and Training in Canada, March 2009. “Immigrants are more highly educated, on average, than their Canadian-born counterparts, yet many of them continue to fare poorly in the labour market. Understanding the role of literacy skills and how these relate to both education - especially education completed outside Canada - and earnings is key to explaining this dichotomy."

Research Paper, March 4, 2009, (HTML)


Income Inequality in British Columbia

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a study titled, BC's Growing Gap: Family Income Inequality, 1976-2006. According to the report British Columbia’s poor and middle class families are in worse financial shape than their parents’ generation. Approximately 60% of families with children are earning less than their counterparts in the late 1970s, while incomes for the wealthiest 10% have increased dramatically. The result is a widening gap between the rich and the rest of the population.

Report, March 10, 2009(48 pages, PDF)

Summary (8 pages, PDF)


Eldercare and Work-life Conflict

The Canadian Policy Research Networks has released a paper titled, Working and Looking after Mom and Dad: The Face of Caregiving in Canada. The paper looks at how work-life conflict will become more problematic over the next several decades as more employed Canadians take on the additional role as caregiver for an aging or elderly dependent.

Report, March 5, 2009 (6 pages, PDF)


Hiring Declines

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Canada, second quarter, finds that hiring intentions for April – June 2009 have declined dramatically across the country. The Atlantic Provinces are the most optimistic as there is need for workers in the natural resources, fisheries and oil and gas sectors.

Survey, March 10, 2009 (24 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, March 10, 2009: Hiring Intentions in Canada


University Teaching Staff Salaries

Statistics Canada has released Salaries and Salary Scales of Full-time Teaching Staff at Canadian Universities, 2006/2007: Final Report. The report presents the final set of tables containing salary information for the year 2006/2007. The data collected annually reflect employment in universities as of October 1st. Information for institutions that have less than 100 full-time staff are not included.

Report, March 9, 2009 (HTML)

Report, March 9, 2009 (63 pages, PDF)


Data on Canadian Women Corporate Officers

The 2008 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the FP500, has been released. Catalyst provides data and industry comparisons on the earnings and number of women corporate officers in Canada. The report is the sixth in a biannual series that assesses the status of women in corporate leadership in the largest companies in Canada.

Research report, March 8, 2009

Press release


International Women's Day March 8, 2009

Each year around the world, International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th. On the Eurofound website you will find a list of current publications on women at work, gender and equality issues that you can read or download. Three available titles are: Foundation Findings - Drawing on experience: Older women workers in Europe, February 2009; Women managers and hierarchical structures in working life, February 2009; and Women at work: Paths to equality, November 2008.

Eurofound website, March 3, 2009


Book of the Week

Closing the Engagement Gap: How Great Companies Unlock Employee Potential for Superior Results, by Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman, with Joanne Gordon. New York : Portfolio, 2008. 272 p. ISBN 978-1-59184-238-5

When people are truly engaged in their work they give more “discretionary effort” and make a huge difference to their company. They ask, “What’s in it for us?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” Yet an engaged workforce is as rare as it is valuable. A groundbreaking global study, led by Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman of Towers Perrin, shows that most people are not engaged and don’t contribute as much value as they could. Not because they’re inherently lazy or apathetic, but because their companies and managers don’t know how to draw out the best from them. For instance, while pay and benefits are critical in attracting talent to a company, they have little effect on engagement. Instead, there are five proven ways to engage employees, including: grow them by helping them develop skills and knowledge; involve them by asking for input and delegating authority; reward them with recognition and advancement opportunities. Using real world examples, the authors show that consistently better engagement really is possible and can deliver a huge impact to the bottom

About the Authors:

Julie Gebauer leads Towers Perrin`s global Workforce Effectiveness practice and the global Towers Perrin-ISR research practice. Don Lowman is Managing Director of Strategic Growth for HR Services and is located in the Stamford, Connecticut office.


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Date posted: 
Monday, March 9, 2009