November 09, 2009

November 9, 2009

Fair Deal Now-- Vale Inco Strikers gets Global Union Support

Workers Uniting is a new international union created by Unite in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and the USW in the US and Canada. Currently you can access information on the Vale Inco strike on the Worker s Uniting website.Workers Uniting will be a fully functional and registered labor organization in the UK, U.S., Ireland and Canada, with the ability to fully represent all of the members of its founding unions. It will be governed by a Steering Committee with equal membership from each participating union.

Fair Deal Now: Site for Vale Inco families and community members

A Background on the Dispute

Global union picket in the City of London, November 9, 2009: The protest organized by the global union Workers Uniting is in support of striking mineworkers from Vale Inco in Canada

Sudbury Star, November 10, 2009: Sudbury labour dispute takes spotlight in England


New issue of Just Labour

Just Labour: a Canadian Journal of Work and Society has released their Autumn 2009 issue, which includes a special section on new voices in Labour Studies.

Articles in this edition include:

The Proliferation and Consequences of Temporary Help Work: A Cross-Border Comparison

This article features findings from interviews with temporary workers in Ontario, examining the experiences and working conditions of these individuals in comparison to their U.S. counterparts. Findings suggest that both groups have similar experiences with regarded to not being adequately rewarded for their work, often finding it difficult to secure full-time employment.

Full Article (12 pages, PDF)

Smiths Falls in the World: A Study of Globalization in a Rural Canadian Town

This article focuses on Smith Falls, the Chocolate Capital of Canada, which saw the loss of over 1500 jobs in early 2007 due to the closure of the Rideau Regional Centre, an institution for people with developmental disabilities, and their tourism hot spot, The Hershey Company plant. By the end of 2008, nearly 40% of the labour force in Smith Falls was out of work. This paper examines the broader changes in the world occurring through globalization and how the Town of Smith Falls has adjusted since.

Full Article (18 pages, PDF)

For the full issue: Volume 14 (Autumn 2009)


Fairness at Work

On November 9, 2009 the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and Lancaster House
co-sponsored the seminar, Fairness at Work: What We Can Learn From Innovations in The Fair Work Act 2009 (Australia). In this talk Professor Anthony Forsyth of Monash University outlined innovations in the recently enactedFair Work Act in Australia. This legislation is part catch-up with and part leap-frogging the Canadian model. Anthony Forsyth is a Professor of Business and Labour Law at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia. A chapter from his book has been made available online.

"Exit Stage Left", now "Centre Stage", (21 pages, PDF) Chapter 6 from Fair Work: the New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy, Edited by Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart, Federation Press, 2009.


Balancing Between Immigration Enforcement and Workers’ Rights

A report issued by the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work and the National Employment Law Project, titled ICED OUT: How Immigration Enforcement Has Interfered with Workers’ Rights, finds that the federal government’s recent immigration enforcement has undermined workers’ rights, immigrant and native-born alike. The report points to a decline in workplace protections and an increase in arrests and prosecutions of U.S. immigrants that has repeatedly taken precedence over labor law enforcement. Recommendations for the Obama administration and federal agencies to restore balance between immigration and labor law enforcement are listed within the report.

Press Release

Report, October 2009 (44 pages, PDF)


CUPE National takes over York University Union

CUPE National president Paul Moist placed CUPE Local 3903 under new administration in response to the union’s financial problems -- 1.2 million dollars missing after last year’s strike at York and union member allegations of bullying and harassment by union leaders. Lynne McDougal is the new administrator for CUPE Local 3903.

Letter from National President to all CUPE 3903 members, November 4, 2009

A communiqué from Lynn McDougall, the administrator of CUPE 3903

CUPE 3903 website

Globe and Mail, November 3 & 6, 2009: National union takes over York University local by Elizabeth Church


Canadian Board of Directors Practices

The Conference Board of Canada has released, Canadian Directorship Practices 2009: Compensation and Governance Practices of Boards of Directors of Publicly Traded Firms in Canada, by Karla Thorpe. This biennial survey found the average total potential compensation paid to outside directors for their board service is $84,452, but the amount varies significantly depending upon the size, industry, and type of firm. The report also looks at governance practices, where new and evolving standards are dramatically changing the role of directors.

Report, November 2009 (44 pages, PDF) available free to the University of Toronto community by signing on to the Conference Board of Canada’s e-library.


Increasing the Number of Corporate Board Seats held by Women

The Canadian Board Diversity Council is a groundbreaking new venture, funded through the Women's Partnership Fund of Status of Women Canada. Its Founding Members are organizations that are leaders in diversity and corporate governance in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. The Council's goal is to increase the percentage of Financial Post 500 corporate board seats held by women to 20% over 4 years and at the same time increase the federal public sector board seats held by women.

Canadian Board Diversity Council website

Globe and Mail, November 5, 2009: New Council Aims to Boost Women on Boards by Janet McFarland


Your Brain at Work

Chris Rock, author of the book Your Brain at Work and Psychology Today blogger writes on leadership coaching. His current articles, available on the web, look at the drivers of threat and reward in the brain -- status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness and fairness.

Psychology Today Blog by Chris Rock, November 8, 2009: A sense of autonomy is a primary reward or threat for the brain: why employees (and your kids) sometimes lose the plot

Strategy + Business, August 27, 2009: Managing with the Brain in Mind: neuroscience research is revealing the social nature of the high-performance workplace by David Rock

Globe and Mail, September 26, 2009: Want to Teach Employees New Tricks? By Harvey Schachter


OECD -- Toronto must be more competitive

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has released a review report which urges Toronto to be more competitive. Despite Toronto’s large pool of language and cultural skills, the city’s GDP per capita and GDP growth are lower than the Canadian average. The report makes numerous recommendations to improve Toronto’s sustainability including employing skilled immigrants, improving the transport infrastructure and coordinating all levels of government.

News Release

Report Summary

Globe and Mail, November 10, 2009: Toronto congestion costs Canada $3.3-billion: OECD: Traffic backup in the region and urban sprawl leads to loss of productivity each year by Brodie Fenlon


Sources for Trade Union Membership and Union Density Data

The OECD has published a paper by Jelle Visser, Sébastien Martin and Peter Tergeist that provides the current and historical sources of trade union membership and union density for each OECD country. Some links to data sources are provided in the document.

Sources, November 2009 (8 pages, PDF)

Trade Union Density, current OECD figures


Fewer Workplace Accidents for Young Men

The Institute for Work & Health has released a paper titled, Declining trends in young worker injury rates, 2000 to 2007.The paper finds that the once higher injury rates for 15 to 25 year old men in Ontario , Quebec , and British Columbia are declining and becoming similar to that of older men. This Issue Briefing presents a detailed breakdown of workplace injury rates for men and women in these three provinces over time, and suggests potential reasons for the trends.

Briefing, October 2009


Labour Song

Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition, on CBC Radio One, featured Paul Robeson, April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976, who was an internationally renowned American basso profundo concert singer, known for his social justice activism. Robeson was a trade union and peace activist – a forerunner of the civil rights movement. The show, available as a Podcast, features Robeson singing for groups such as the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in Canada after the United States had taken away his passport.

Podcast, November 7, 2009 (scroll to bottom of the page and click on arrow beside Listen to Hour Three

Paul Robeson and the labor movement (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Standardizing Qualifications across European Borders

The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training has released the Malta Qualifications Council’s report which links its qualifications framework to the European Qualifications Frameworks. The frameworks were developed in response to globalization and the challenge in providing cross-border cooperation between education systems. The standardization of qualifications will address issues surrounding hiring foreign applicants who wish to study and work abroad in Europe.

Press Release

Report, September 2009 (163 pages, PDF)


Book of the Week

Invisible Hands, Invisible Objectives: Bringing Workplace Law and Public Policy into Focus, by Stephen F. Befort and John W. Budd. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford Economics and Finance, 2009. xviii, 308 p. ; 24 cm. ISBN 978-0-8047-6154-3

Invisible Hands, Invisible Objectives develops a fresh, holistic framework to fundamentally reexamine U.S. workplace regulation. A new scorecard for workplace law and public policy that embraces equity and voice for employees, as well as economic efficiency, reveals significant deficiencies in our current practices. In response, the authors-a legal scholar and an economics and industrial relations scholar-blend their expertise to propose a comprehensive set of reforms, tackling such issues as regulatory enforcement, portable employee benefits, training programs, living wages, workplace safety and health, work-family balance, security and social safety nets, nondiscrimination, good cause dismissal, balanced income distributions, free speech protections for employees, individual and collective workplace decision-making, and labor unions.

About the Authors:

Stephen F. Befort is the Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty, and Bennett Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

John W. Budd is the Industrial Relations Land Grant Chair at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.


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Date posted: 
Monday, November 9, 2009