May 19, 2008

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CAW Members Ratify Three Year Agreements at Chrysler and General Motors:  Bargaining between the CAW and the big three North American auto producers, Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, was completed four months before the current contracts expire. CAW members working at General Motors and Chrysler ratified new agreements between May 17th and 19th. The agreements follow the pattern of the Ford agreement, ratified May 5th, which froze wages, suspended cost-of-living allowances and reduced vacation pay, but at the same time avoided two-tier wages, improved benefits, and strengthened health and safety regulations.

Links: “Clean sweep for historic auto deal: Chrysler workers follow in footsteps of Ford, GM in ratifying three-year deal that freezes wages,” by Brett Popplewell, Toronto Star, May 18, 2008; CAW News Now; Ford Production and Skilled Trades Highlights Brochure - May 2008 (12 pages, PDF); “Life after Buzz,” by Greg Keenan Globe and Mail, May 15, 2008.

Industrial Disputes and Web 2.0: A recent article from the looks at the rising use of web 2.0 technologies, such as Blogs and Facebook, by workers and unions organizing international internet protest campaigns. The IBM workers campaign in Italy and the Keep Burberry British protest are featured in the article. New global union websites, including Union Island which is based in Second Life, are also featured.

Links: “Strike 2.0: The Grangemouth oil refinery workers did it the old way - but, as Nic Paton discovers, the industrial disputes of the future are more likely to take place online than on a picket line,” by Nic Paton, The Guardian, May 10, 2008; Union IslandThe New Unionism networkUni global union.

Workplace BulletinThe Labour division of Human Resources and Social Development Canada has released its current edition of the Workplace Bulletin. This edition contains information on wage settlements, current and upcoming key negotiations, major work stoppages, and older workers and pension issues.

Link: Workplace Bulletin, May 15, 2008 (18 pages, PDF)

Saskatchewan Government Passed Bills 5 and 6: Bill No.5 The Public Services Essential Services Act, and Bill No. 6, An Act to Amend The Trade Union Act, recieved Royal Assent on May 14, 2008.

Links: “Government Passes Essential Services Act,” Saskatchewan Government News Release May 14, 2008; Bill 5: An Act Respecting Essential Public Services; Bill 6The Trade Union Amendment Act, 2007; “ Saskatchewan Party rams anti-labour bills through legislature,” NUPGE, May 16, 2008. 

Canadian Labour Congress Goes to Court: The Canadian Labour Congress and two Québec labour groups are before the Supreme Court of Canada seeking a declaration that $54 billion of employment insurance premiums had been spent unconstitutionally by successive federal governments. The money was treated as surplus by the government and diverted to general revenue. The groups say the practice amounted to indirect taxation and the money raised was spent improperly.

Links: “Labour groups begin $54-billion Supreme Court EI challenge: Premiums paid by workers and employers diverted to other uses by successive governments” NUPGE News; It's the unemployed workers' money, give it back to them! Canadian Labour Congress, May 16, 2008.

Work Stress Associated with Medication Errors: A study released by Statistics Canada has found links between work stress and medication error. The study found that nurses with low support from their co-workers were significantly more likely to report medication error than were those with more support. As well, low job security and job dissatisfaction were also significantly related to medication error.

Links: "Correlates of Medication Error in Hospitals," by Kathryn Wilkins and Margot Shields, inHealth Reports, Statistics Canada, May 14, 2008 (13 pages, PDF); Overwork means errors, nurses say, Globe and Mail, May 14, 2008

Women of Color in Accounting: The accounting industry faces increasing talent recruitment and retention demands. More than half the graduates earning accounting degrees are women, and women of color are a critical part of the talent pool for accounting firms. According to a study released by Catalyst, New York, barriers for women of color include race-based disadvantages, double standards, and a lack of access to high-visibility engagements. These barriers result in women of color having low satisfaction in their careers, which is a significant predictor of intent to leave their firms.

Links: Women of Color in Accounting: Women of Color in Professional Services Series , by Katherine Giscombe, Lead Sponsor: Ernst & Young, Contributing Sponsors: Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Catalyst, May 12, 2008 (63 pages, PDF); Despite Need for CPAs, Women of Color Struggle to Gain Experience, Support, and Exposure Essential to Succeed in Accounting Firms, According to Latest Catalyst Study, Catalyst Press Room.

The Future of Retirement: HSBC Insurance has released its fourth global report on retirement. Data for the report was collected from over 21,000 people in 25 countries. The report found a large proportion of the world's ageing population to be unprepared for retirement, a significant lack of confidence in governments to support ageing populations, and the need for governments to enforce additional private savings.

Links: The Future of Retirement 2008: Investing in Later Life , by Professor Sarah Harper, Oxford Institute of Ageing (44 pages, PDF); “Ill-prepared spendthrifts,” by Jonathan Chevreau, Financial Post,May 14, 2008.

Retirement Incentives: A paper released by the C.D. Howe Institute looks at inducements to retire found in four pension plans -- the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the Federal Public Service Pension Plan, the Ford Canada–Canadian Auto Workers pension plan and the pension plan covering Steelworkers at Stelco Canada. What these plans have in common are clear incentives to enter retirement as soon as a person is eligible for unreduced retirement benefits. According to the author, special retirement provisions provide workers with clear incentives to enter retirement at set ages.

Links: In Greener Pastures: Understanding the Impact of Retirement Incentives in Defined-benefit Pension Plans, commentary, by Tammy Schirle (24 pages, PDF); Links to supplementary materials – pension incentives calculator and simulation model.

Newfoundland and Saskatchewan Prosper: An article in the most recent edition of the Canadian Economic Observer explores the contributions of higher commodity prices and inter-provincial migration to the economic revival in both Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. It examines recent changes in output, labour markets, exports, housing and retail sales.

Link: From Lagging to Leading: Newfoundland and Saskatchewan Dig into the Resource Boom, by Diana Wyman, Canadian Economic Observer, Statistics Canada, Feature article, May 15, 2008.

Databook of International Labour Statistics 2008: JILPT Databook of International Labour Statistics 2008 is the 12th edition of a comprehensive statistical annual from a variety of sources in different countries. The databook contains 145 tables corresponding to nine major substantive chapters on 1) economy and business; 2) population and labour force; 3) employment structure; 4) unemployment, unemployment insurance and employment adjustment; 5) wages and labour costs; 6) hours of work and working-time arrangements; 7) labour union, industrial relations and occupational accidents; 8) education and human resources development; 9) worklife and welfare. All tables are available for download in Excel and PDF format.

Link: Databook of International Labour Statistics 2008 online 16 May 2008]

Date posted: 
Monday, May 19, 2008