May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009


Healthcare Reform from the White House to the Workplace

Cornell ILR School will be hosting a free webcast titled, Healthcare Reform from the White House to the Workplace on Thursday, June 25, 2009 from 12:00 to 1:00. The speakers will discuss the U.S. healthcare system and explain the Obama administration's proposals for reform. They will focus on healthcare workers including physicians, nurses and support staff in order to explain how healthcare is really delivered, and what change actually entails.

Webcast information for June 25, 2009: Healthcare Reform from the White House to the Workplace


CAW Members Ratify New Collective Agreement

CAW members working at General Motors in Oshawa, Windsor, St. Catharines and Woodstock, Ontario have voted in favour of a new collective agreement. The agreement was ratified by 86 per cent after two days of voting at the four locations in Ontario.

CAW press release, May 25, 2009

Bargaining Report: Highlights of the Tentative Restructuring Agreement between CAW-Canada and General Motors, May 2009 (8 pages, PDF)

The Globe and Mail, May 25, 2009: CAW members approve GM deal

The Globe and Mail, May 25, 2009: Taxpayers to fork out billions for GM pension aid: Deal an apparent about-face for Harper government Shawn McCarthy, Greg Keenan and Karen Howlett


Possibly a Very Dry Summer

According to a current posting on Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog a strike by LCBO employees is a possibility. “Employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario voted 93% in favour of a strike in the event that a new collective agreement cannot be reached.”

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog, May 26th, 2009: Oh no. LCBO Workers Vote to Strike!


Imperial Oil Approves Phase One of the Kearl Oil Sands Project

Imperial Oil Limited has announced that the first phase of the Kearl oil sands project, a surface mining operation northeast of Fort McMurray in Alberta has been approved. The environmental impact as well as the impact on jobs has been critiqued. According to Imperial Oil the construction work-force would reach almost two thousand people and over one thousand permanent jobs will be created. The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour has found the project to be, “deeply troubling because ... the real money - and the real jobs - in this business are in upgrading and refining. Unfortunately Kearl will be sending all of those benefits down the pipeline to Exxon refineries in the US Midwest and Gulf Coast."

Calgary Herald, May 25, 2009: Imperial's Kearl nod sparks political row: Bitumen expected to flow south

Alberta Federation of Labour news, May 26, 2009: With no commitment to Alberta-based refining, Kearl should not be seen as economic savior

HIS Cera Press release, May 18, 2009: Oil Sands Move from the “Fringe to Center” of Energy Supply

Growth in the Canadian Oil Sands: Finding a New Balance Study Overview and Table of Contents, May 2009

Globe and Mail, May 21, 2009: Oil sands face green investor microscope

New York Times, May 18, 2009: Report Weighs Fallout of Canada’s Oil Sands


Just Labour Online

The Spring 2009 issue of Just Labour: a Canadian Journal of Work and Society has been released. Articles in this edition include, Engineering Resistance: Energy Professionals And The 2005 Strike In Neoliberal OntarioThe Stelco Restructuring ParadoxandThe Targeted Wage Subsidy: How Program Design Creates Incentives For “Creaming”.

Just Labour Volume 13 (Spring 2009)


Ivey Business Journal

The Ivey Business Journal has released their new issue focusing on management and labour practices as they are being used in the wake of the current economic recession. For more articles, please see the May/June 2009 issue.

How General Motors Lost its Focus – and its Way 
General Motor’s current situation illustrates why building an offering for every market segment may make sense in the boardroom, but not on the balance sheet, where it stanches the flow of cash the corporation desperately needs.

Downsizing isn’t what it’s cracked up to be 
This article discusses how and why mass layoffs are not effective. The author of this article states that downsizing has only a 50-50 chance of reducing costs. While the alternatives to downsizing he describes may not be new, there is documented evidence that they maintain employee engagement and the firm’s competitive standing.

Real Labour-Management Teamwork: an idea whose time is due 
If the participation of labour in management decisions leads to a more responsive, better-run GM and Chrysler, then this economic recession will have yielded a solid legacy, proof that management-labour cooperation really does work. This author believes that the time has come for such cooperation to roll down the assembly line. He also suggests tried and true work practices that will create efficiencies, and in the end, build an enduring trust.


Severance Policies not Developed Despite Recession

Mercer has released a summary of its United States Severance and Strategy Survey. According to the survey over two-thirds of organizations have had to reduce their workforces over the past year and a half as a result of the recession. Despite the prevalence of these workforce reductions one in four organizations does not have a severance policy and 70 percent of employers with a policy do not plan to modify it.

Mercer, May 26, 2009: Severance policy features and severance periods


Quebec's Pension and Benefits Trends

The May 2009 issue of Benefits Canada features a cover story on the Quebec pension and benefits trends and legislation. The report features profiles of Quebec plan sponsors and how they are managing their HR challenges.

2009 Quebec Report: Separate Solutions: In Quebec, how do pensioners and plan sponsors spell relief? R-É-G-I-E, by Serge Charbonneau , May 1, 2009 (7 pages, PDF)

Benefits Canada, May 2009


Employment among the Disabled

The May 2009 online edition of Perspectives on Labour and Income features an article titled "Employment among the disabled.” Using longitudinal data for the period from 1999 to 2004 the study shows that only 13% of those reporting a disability were affected for the entire 6 years. The longer the disability period, the more likely the individuals were to have less education, be women, be older, live alone and work fewer hours per year.

Article, May 26, 2009 (11 pages, PDF)


Shifting Pensions

The May 2009 online edition of Perspectives on Labour and Income features an article titled, “Shifting Pensions.” Between 1991 and 2006 defined contribution plan membership almost doubled, increasing by 93%, while during the same period defined benefit plans lost 4% of their members. This article examines the increased prevalence of defined contribution plans in Canada and the factors influencing this trend.

Article, May 26, 2009 (8 pages, PDF)


Increasing Aboriginal Educational Attainment

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has released a report titled, The Effect of Increasing Aboriginal Educational Attainment on the Labour Force, Output and the Fiscal Balance. The paper examines the potential economic gains of increased Aboriginal education, as well as the fiscal implications of increased education and improved Aboriginal social well-being for Canadian governments to 2026.

Report, May 21, 2009 (108 pages, PDF)


Good Practices in Restructuring

A report by the European Monitoring Centre on Change titled, Good Practice in Company Restructuring, provides company case studies from 25 EU Member States and Norway. This study identifies instances where companies have made significant efforts to minimize job losses, while also providing concrete examples of good practice and effective action in relation to restructuring.

ERM case studies, May 25, 2009 (53 pages, PDF)


Book of the Week

Ties to Tattoos: Turning Generational Differences into a Competitive Advantage, by Sherri Elliott. Dallas, Texas : Brown Books Publishing Group, 2009. 126 p. ISBN 978-1-934812-30-3

In Ties to Tattoos, Elliott discusses how to leverage relationships between Traditionalists who voted for Eisenhower, Boomers who worked out to Jane Fonda, Xers who listened to Nirvana, and Millennials who can do all of that and more digitally. She illustrates that understanding generational issues not only allows companies to resolve conflicts but to boost productivity.

About the Author: Sherri Elliott is the president and owner of Optimance Workforce Strategies, an HR consulting firm.


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Date posted: 
Monday, May 25, 2009