October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009

Revitalizing Canadian Manufacturing

An upcoming conference, "Revitalizing Canadian Manufacturing," will be hosted by Ryerson University Ted Rogers School of Management, 575 Bay St Toronto, on Tuesday November 10th, 2009.

How can the Canadian manufacturing sector adapt and thrive in the 21st century? This, along with a number of other pressing questions, will be explored at the conference which will feature speeches by leader of the Green Party of Canada Elizabeth May, RBC CEO and President Gordon M. Nixon, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, CAW Economist Jim Stanford, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters President and CEO Jason Myers as well as others and will be moderated by former CAW National President Buzz Hargrove.

Conference & Registration page


Hargrove Lays it on the Line

Buzz Hargrove, retired CAW leader, has released a new memoir titled Laying it on the Line. “In Laying It on the Line, Hargrove explains the crisis (collapse of the Big Three automakers) from his side of the table, what it means for Canada and how the manufacturing sector can again become this country’s foremost economic driver.” (From publisher’s website)

Toronto Star, October 19, 2009: Stronach sought CAW bailout, Hargrove says: 'Laying It on the Line': newly published memoir says the auto tycoon, made a peace overture out of the blue when Magna was teetering on the brink


Retirement Lost

Canada’ national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, is featuring a not-to-be-missed series on retirement titled: Retirement Lost: What will your retirement look like? A seven-part multimedia series on Canada's pension crisis. Below are just some of the links to the currently available stories –just check the website daily for stories yet to be released and for interactive sections of the website.

Globe and Mail, October 16, 2009: Follow the Series – scroll down daily to link to stories

Globe and Mail, October 16, 2009: The History of a Pension Crisis: (interactive) Pension plans have been offered in Canada since the 1800s, but have been declining in the private sector in recent decades. Factors such as an aging population, a declining manufacturing sector and low interest rates have caused the decline. Here is a brief summary of the evolution.

Globe and Mail, October 16, 2009: Part One: The crisis: retirement dreams under siege by Jacquie McNish

Globe and Mail, October 18, 2009: Part Two: Manufacturing's wreckage: Bankrupt companies, pension promises destroyed. When companies are put into bankruptcy protection, pensioners go to the end of the queue behind most other creditors. Often that can mean they receive only a fraction of their promised pension. It’s a story all too familiar in Canada’s ravaged manufacturing sector. By Greg Keenan reports

Globe and Mail, October 20, 2009: Part three: The death of the traditional pension plan : Hybrid pension plans: a hard sell while hybrid models are all the rage among academics and consultants, they still have few takers in the real world. They are complex to set up and operate and are a hard sell to weary companies that just want to get out of the pension business and set up simple, risk-free DC plans. Janet McFarland reports

Got to Globe and Mail, October 16, 2009: Follow the Series to link to the stories below

Part four: Conflicts of interest? (Coming Wednesday)
Financial planning: Who should you trust? The pension crisis presents a huge opportunity for the financial sector to sell advice and products, and the industry knows it. But, the financial industry may not be ready to provide the kind of advice that people need as opposed to the kind that sells products, Rob Carrick writes

Part five: Underfunded dreams (Coming Thursday)
How Canada’s pension system fails the middle class For the bulk of the population – for the self-employed, for those who work at small businesses, for professionals – a secure, comfortable retirement is very much in question right through their working lives. And no one in power wants to talk about the problem. Andrew Willis reports

Part six: Nine steps to financial freedom (Coming Friday)
Setting goals, making plans: A practical guide When people ask Ross Grant how he managed to semi-retire in his 40s, they’re usually surprised by his answer. No, he didn’t win the lottery or have a secret formula for discovering 10-baggers on the stock market. He paid off his mortgage as quickly as possible, maximized his RRSP contributions and stayed out of credit card debt, John Heinzl writes

Part seven: Ranking Canada against the world (Coming Saturday)
A global perspective: How do you improve a broken system? The private sector has been a failure in helping people provide for retirement, and many argue we need a new public pension scheme that will replace RRSPs and company pension plans to ensure that future seniors don't wallow in poverty. But no reform, however broad, is likely to offer a failsafe parachute for the thousands of Canadians who are ill-prepared for imminent retirement. Konrad Yakabuski reports


Ford, the United Autoworkers and Concession Bargaining

The recent agreement reached between Ford and the United Auto Workers has yet to be voted upon by members of the union. The contract includes a $1,000 bonus if ratified and new vehicles for five assembly plants but there are concessions as well – strike ban over wages or benefits, freeze for new hires and work rule changes for skilled-trade employees.
Ford and the CAW talks have stalled on the issue of how much manufacturing capacity will stay in Canada.

Bloomberg, October 13, 2009: Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Accord on Contract Changes (Update4)

Canadian Press, October 16, 2009: CAW won't agree to strike ban in new Ford agreement, unlike UAW: Lewenza, by Kristine Owram

Globe and Mail, October 20, 2009: Ford commits to new vehicles at U.S. plants, Canadian Auto Workers union to seek similar investment promises when contract talks resume next week, By Greg Keenan


Are Concessions Still Needed?

Two recent pieces in The Bullet, Socialist Project e-bulletin, argue that the time for trading concessions for company promises of jobs and investment are over. “Retired CAW National Representative Herman Rosenfeld calls for a movement that makes Ford the new pattern and Ford Oakville worker Euan Gibb, describes the successful effort to oppose concessions at CAW Local 707 in 2008.” CAW- Ford Bargaining is set to resume on October 26, 2009.

The Bullet, October 19, 2009

CAW-Ford Bargaining Update, September 24, 2009 (2 pages, PDF)


Supreme Court of Canada Dismisses Appeal

From the CUPE 15 website: “Supreme Court upholds the right to demonstrate: October 9, 2009. Yesterday, the highest court in the land refused to hear appeals from citizens demanding compensation for inconvenience suffered during a demonstration by Montreal blue-collar workers in September 2003. Initially, the Superior Court had ordered the blue-collar workers to pay a fine of $25 to $35 to 435 people; but subsequently, the Court of Appeal had concluded that the right to travel by car without suffering undue delay does not fall under the Charter of Rights. The president of the Montreal blue-collar workers’ union (CUPE 301), Michel Parent, welcomed the news. "This Court decision enshrines our right to demonstrate," he said.”

Canada Press, October 8, 2009: High court nixes bids to sue union over walkout turmoil

Supreme Court of Canada Case Summary: Boris Coll v. Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal (SCFP, section locale 301)

Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada, October 8, 2009(3 pages, PDF): scroll to bottom #33200 dismissed with costs

The Gazette (Montreal), September 2007: Blue-collar workers' union billed $1.16 million for causing traffic jam: It may go down as the most expensive traffic jam in Montreal history


Workplace Bulletin

This publication from the Workplace information Directorates provides data on collectively bargained wage adjustments for both private and public sectors in Canada. For January to August 2009 wage adjustments (increases) averaged 2.4%. The results are based on 237 agreements covering 632,000 employees with adjustments averaging 2.5% in the public sector and 1.9% in the private sector.

Workplace Bulletin, October 15, 2009 (15 pages, PDF)


Diversity Report on Canadian Law Firms

Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s October 2009 issue features a story titled “Diverse perspectives” on diversity practices in Canadian law firms. Law firms that do business with the Canadian federal government must have equity programs in place. This report looks at what the firms are ‘not’ doing in terms of equity practices and makes both a business case for diversity as well as a case for justice in serving a diverse Canadian population.

Canadian Lawyer, October 19, 2009: Don’t ask, don’t tell’: Diversity report: federal legal agents by Gail J. Cohen

Cover: Special Report: Diverse perspectives, October 2009, by Gail J. Cohen

Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Department of Justice Canada, Workplace Equity Policy for standing Legal Agents : “This policy applies to lawyers and law firms in Canada appointed as standing agents of the Attorney General of Canada”


Top Rated Firms for LGBT Workers

The Human Rights Campaign Foundations recently released their Corporate Equality index, which “provides an in-depth analysis and ratings of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.” This year’s index shows that even with the economy in a downturn, leading employers still recruit and retain a diverse workforce. These workers are protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, with transgender workers having made the biggest gains since the Index was first published in 2002. The HRC Foundation also sponsors National Coming Out Day which takes place annually on October 11th.

Press Release, September 2009

Full Report, September 2009 (64 pages, PDF)

Report Highlights, September 2009 (2 pages, PDF)

National Coming Out Day Website


Human Resources, Ethics and Compliance

A recent Conference Board New York report titled, Working at the Intersection of Human Resources, Ethics, and Compliance - The Need for Collaboration by Ronald E. Berenbeim, looks at the inter-departmental and inter-functional collaboration between human resources and ethics and compliance. Cultural and organizational issues that may limit this collaboration, human resources’ potential leadership role, and ways of introducing metrics into the equation are examined. Case material about two companies using different approached to collaboration is included.

Report, October 2009, (23 Pages, PDF) free to University of Toronto students and faculty by creating a Conference Board e-Library account


Social Networking on the Job?

According to a survey of Canadian chief financial officers social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are off-limits when employees are at work. Over 270 CFO’s were asked, “Which of the following most closely describes your company’s policy on visiting social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, while at work?” Social networking sites were completely prohibited by 58% and 22% allowed for business purposes only.

Robert Half Technologies Press release, October 6, 2009: Whistle - but don’t tweet - while you work: A Majority of Companies Prohibit Social Networking on the Job, CIO Survey Reveals


Maternity Leave without the Baby

Sam Baker, the editor-in-chief of Red Magazine, commissioned a survey of 2,000 women that found women without children would value a leave of absence from work -- "This isn't a working mum versus working non-mums argument. Nobody thinks maternity leave is a holiday. Employers, especially now, need to “incentivise” their staff in imaginative ways and that could involve offering leave. Some companies are already doing this."

Telegraph.co.uk, October 17, 2009: Women without children should be allowed maternity leave, survey says Women who do not have children should be allowed to take maternity leave, allowing them time off from the workplace, according to a study


Canada, U.S. and Mexico Reaffirm Commitment to NAFTA

This year is the 15th anniversary of NAFTA, one of the world’s largest free trade areas. Since NAFTA has come into effect, “trilateral merchandise trade has almost tripled between Canada, the United States and Mexico, reaching $949 billion in 2008. The NAFTA countries represent 28 percent of world GDP.”

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, October 19, 2009: scroll down for links to NAFTA resources including Text of the Agreement; Tariff Elimination; What are the NAFTA rules of origin?; Side Agreements; NAFTA Institutions and Contacts; Commission Meetings; Dispute Settlement

NAFTA NOW website: This site is jointly produced by the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico


EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

The first round of negotiations for the agreement known as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is taking place this week, October 19, 2009.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website: EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Globe and Mail, October 19, 2009: EU trade talks stuck on butter by Doug Saunders


Book of the Week

Destructive Organizational Communication: Processes, Consequences, & Constructive Ways of Organizing, edited by Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik and Beverly Davenport Sypher. New York : Routledge, 2009. 408 p. ISBN 978-0-415-98994-7 (pbk.)

This volume provides an in-depth consideration of destructive communication in organizations -- including workplace bullying, racism, stress, and harassment. It brings together communication scholars from theoretical and applied perspectives to assess current understandings, explore ways to integrate theory and practice, identify areas for change, and outline a research agenda for the coming decade. Each chapter examines a specific aspect of destructive organizational communication, reviews existing theory and research about that communicative form or ideology, suggests fruitful possibilities for application, and suggests key areas for further study.

Overall, the collection provides a basic understanding of the different types of destructive communication in organizations, the processes through which these interactions occur, the consequences to individuals and organizations, and the potential for organizing in more constructive, civil ways. This volume will be an excellent resource for scholars and researcher studying organizational communication, and graduate and advanced undergraduate students in organizational communication. It will also resonate with managers dealing with hostile workplaces, and organizational members trying to understand their current experiences.

About the Authors:

Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, Ph.D. (Arizona State University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. Her research centers on workplace bullying, employee emotional abuse, and positive organizational communication. Prior to academia, she worked as an administrator in substance abuse treatment and women’s advocacy.

Beverly Davenport Sypher, Ph.D. (University of Michigan) is the Susan Bulkeley Butler Chair for Leadership Excellence and associate provost at Purdue University where she is a professor in the Department of Communication. Her research focuses on civil discourse in the workplace and outcomes associated with employees’ communication abilities and choices.


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Questions or Comments: contact us at cirhr.library@utoronto.ca.

Editor: Vicki Skelton
Designer: Nick Strupat

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

Date posted: 
Monday, October 19, 2009