September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009

Vulnerable Workers

Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities is a recently released study that examines violations of employment and labor laws in the United States -- the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, to be paid for overtime hours, to take meal breaks, access to workers' compensation when injured, and the right to advocate for better working conditions. In 2008 the authors conducted a survey of 4,387 workers in low-wage industries in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Vulnerable workers who are often missed in standard surveys, such as unauthorized immigrants and those paid in cash were included. The goal of the study was to obtain accurate and statistically representative estimates of the prevalence of workplace violations.

Report, September 2, 2009 (72 pages, PDF)

Summary of results and links to media coverage

New York Times, September 1, 2009: Low-Wage Workers Are Often Cheated, Study Says


Global Crisis and Restructuring in the Automotive Industry

The International Metal Workers’ Federation has published a report titled The Global Crisis and Restructuring in Automotive and Metalworking Industries. The paper looks at the global downturn, the widespread job loss and working hour reductions, government measures and Metalworking union actions and responses.

Report, July 2, 2009 (5 pages, PDF)

Report, July 2, 2009 (html)


Labour Relations Laws in Canada and the United States

The Fraser Institute has released a study titled, Labour Relations Laws in Canada and the United States: an empirical comparison, 2009 Edition. This publication provides an assessment of labour relations laws in the private sector for the ten Canadian provinces, the Canadian federal jurisdiction, and the fifty states of the United States. Components of labour relations laws are examined within three category groupings– union organizing, union security, and the regulation of unionized firms.

Study, August 25, 2009 (72 pages, PDF)

Benefits Canada, August 25, 2009: Canada’s labour relations laws unbalanced: report, by Jody White

Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, Blog post September 1, 2009: Labour relations is all about your point of view


Pension Plan Surpluses and the Kerry Decision

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the Ontario Superior Court judgment that allowed pension fund managers to maintain control over pension plan surpluses -- certainly an issue from earlier years. The Court blog has a couple of very thorough postings on the history and the outcome of the case.

The Court: Nolan vs. Kerry and its place in Pension Deliberation, by Simon Archer, August 22, 2009

The Court: Employers and Pension Plan Sponsors rejoice: the SCC decision in Nolan vs. Kerry, by Sona Dhawan, August 17, 2009


Pension Legislation and Regulation in Canada

The C.D. Howe Institute has released a paper titled, In The Pension Tangle: Achieving Greater Uniformity of Pension Legislation and Regulation in Canada. According to the author cross-jurisdictional differences in pension legislation and regulation discourages the creation of national, single-employer pension plans. Currently 60 percent of working Canadians do not have private pensions sponsored by their employer. Options for regulatory reform and harmonization are suggested.

Report, August 29, 2009 (20 pages, PDF)


Pensions and Healthcare in an Ageing World

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Mercer and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has released a report titled, Transforming Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Ageing World.The paper addresses the challenge of financing retirement and healthcare in light of world-wide demographic changes that include a rapidly ageing population, a declining labour force, and alarming healthcare and pension benefit costs. Concerted effort from government, private sectors and civil societies is essential to address these concerns.

Report, September 2009 (80 pages, PDF)

Executive Summary (5 pages, PDF)

World Economic Forum website: Strategic Options for Pensions and Healthcare -- scroll down for a YouTube presentation and chart of 11 Strategic options


Ontario Human Rights Commission

The OHRC has released their Annual Report for 2008-2009, providing “a snapshot of successes and challenges of the past year, new policies and important legal decisions,” while also discussing the Commissions priorities for the future.

OHRC Annual Report 2008-2009, June 26, 2009 (30 pages, PDF)

Press Release, June 26, 2009


Effects of the Recession on Men & Women

Two reports from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have been released discussing issues related to the current recession and its affect on both males and females.

Canada’s “He-cession,” by Trish Hennessy and CIRHR graduate Armine Yalnizyan, reports that while Canada’s unemployment gender gap has hit both men and women hard, statistics issued by Stats Canada note that 71% of individuals that have lost their jobs have been men.

Press Release, July 25, 2009

Report, July 2009 (3 pages, PDF)

Women’s Poverty and the Recession by Monica Townson argues that despite the shockingly high rates of women’s poverty, the recession has sidelined anti-poverty policies to lower these numbers. This study also provides a critical analysis of how recent federal government policies have in fact contributed to the growing numbers of poor women.

ress Release, September 1, 2009

Report, September 2009 (54 pages, PDF)


Recruiting Talent in the Current Economic Downturn

As part of its longitudinal project, The Promise of Future Leadership: A Research Program on Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline, Catalyst has released Insight Report: Opportunity or Setback? High Potential Women and Men During Economic Crisis. This report examines whether organizations that have paid a premium to recruit up-and-coming talent are leveraging that investment during the current economic downturn. Findings suggest that businesses must be vigilant about retention even during periods of economic instability.

Press release

Insight Report, August 2009, (4 pages, PDF)


Effects of the Economic Crisis on Living Standards

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards in collaboration with the Institute of Wellbeing has released a report which looks at how the economic crisis has unfolded in Canada and the effects that it has had on economic wellbeing. The study concludes that the current recession will “erase many of the economic and standard of living gains made since the mid-1990s,” also noting that unemployment and poverty will likely continue to rise and stay at high levels for years.

Report, August 2009 (47 pages, PDF)


Ivey Business Journal

The Ivey Business Journal has released their new issue focusing on innovation. The July/August issue looks at thinking outside the box with regards to whom public and private funding is given to – while traditionally given to scientists, this issue questions what could be achieved if some of this funding were diverted to practitioners, managers, or salespeople.

Feature Article, Re-imagining innovation: hold the scientists and bring on the practitioners, by: Declan Jordan

For more articles on innovation, please see the July/August issue.


Perspectives on Labour and Income

Perspectives on Labour and Income, the monthly publication from Statistics Canada that brings together and analyzes a wide range of labour and income data, released the following papers in the July and August 2009 editions.

Barriers to training access, by Gordon B. Cooke, Isik U. Zeytinoglu and James Chowhan, July 22, 2009 (12 pages, PDF)

GIS update, by Mary Luong, July 22, 2009 (9 pages, PDF)

Pathways into the GIS, by Sharanjit Uppal, Ted Wannell and Edouard Imbeau, August 26, 2009 (10 pages, PDF)

Family Work Patterns, by Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté and Claude Dionne, August 26, 2009 (12 pages, PDF)


Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow

“In this report, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers presents a projection of potential developments in the U.S. labor market over the next five to ten years and discusses the preparations necessary to develop the 21st century workforce. We discuss the skills that will likely be most relevant in growing occupations, the value and limitations of our current post-high school education and training systems, and the characteristics of a more effective education and training structure.”

Paper, July 2009 (31 pages, PDF)


European Industrial Relations and Industry Reports

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) has released their annual review highlighting the most significant development that took place in industrial relations in EU Member States and Norway in 2008. Titled Industrial relations developments in Europe 2008, the report discussesdevelopments in employment legislation, trends in bargaining, and the regulation and working condition of self-employed workers are discussed at length among many other issues.

Report, August 2009 (76 pages, PDF)

Eurofound has also published a series of reports titled Investing in the Future of jobs and skills, which focus on different sectors and the new skills and jobs relating to these industries. For the full reports, please click on the sector you are interested in below:

Building and repairing of ships and boats sector (143 pages, PDF)

Textiles, clothing and leather sector (152 pages, PDF)

Distribution and trade sector (186 pages, PDF)

Electromechanical engineering sector (114 pages, PDF)

Electricity, gas, water and waste sector (131 pages, PDF

Hotels and restaurant sector (121 pages, PDF)

Computer, electronic and optical products sector (163 pages, PDF)

Other services sector (114 pages, PDF)


Book of the Week

On the Ground: Labor Struggle in the American Airline Industry, by Liesl Miller Orenic. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2009. 281 p. ISBN 978-0-252-03433-6 (hardback), 978-0-252-07627-5 (paperback)

On the Ground charts labor relations in the airline industry, unraveling the story of how baggage handlers--classified as unskilled workers--built tense but mutually useful alliances with their skilled coworkers such as aircraft mechanics and made tremendous gains in wages and working conditions, even in the era of supposedly "complacent" labor in the 1950s and 1960s. Liesl Miller Orenic explains how airline jobs on the ground were constructed, how workers chose among unions, and how federal labor policies as well as industry regulation both increased and hindered airline workers' bargaining power

About the Author: Liesl Miller Orenic is an associate professor of history and the director of American studies at Dominican University.


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

Date posted: 
Monday, September 14, 2009