Posted by & filed under Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: With the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in a legal position to strike late Thursday night, the two sides in the dispute met Wednesday, June 1 to seek a solution.

Source: The Canadian Press

Date: 06/01/2011

Link: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5iCzX1De5LFINYipKiZerKTQSoiWg?docId=7021107

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Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the strike notice deadline will make it more or less likely that the two sides will reach an agreement without job action?
  • Why?
  • What impact would a postal strike have on you and your friends and family?
  • Who would be hurt most by a postal strike?
  • Who would benefit?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction.

Description: The Nova Scotia government has named a former provincial ombudsman to head up its reorganized labour board.

Source: The Canadian Press

Date: 05/31/2011

Link: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jnEoaXtmWm6OKoZuDVbHw8OkFqPg?docId=7011036

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Questions for discussion:

  • What is the role of a labour relations board?
  • What are its powers?
  • What does “quasi-judicial status” mean?
  • Give an example of an employment matter the Nova Scotia board does not deal with.
  • Give a brief description of Nova Scotia’s recent labour tribunal reorganization. Why do you think this was done?

Posted by & filed under Change, Human Resource Management.

With so many other options available for communicating with friends and family, a shutdown of the postal service is not as big a deal as it once was. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers presented their final offer, which was rejected, to Canada Post and issued a strike notice. Months long negotiations have not been productive. Declining mail volume leaves Canada Post needing concessions, but the union calls them excessive and seems unwilling to budge.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Discuss the reasons why the union might strike.
  2. If, as the writer of the article indicates, the bargaining power of the union has been weakened, how can it protect its membership? Is there any alternative other than accepting concessions demanded by Canada Post? Is the situation here indicative of a national trend or is it limited to the postal service? Provide a rationale for your answer.
  3. [Chapter 10] Does the union’s position reflect resistance to change? Why or why not? How should Canada Post respond?

SOURCE: M. Babad, “Would Anyone Care If Postal Workers Strike on Thursday?” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/would-anyone-care-if-postal-workers-strike-on-thursday/article2039904/)

 

Posted by & filed under Operations Management.

Entrepreneur Rhonda Abrams points out how “stuff” (materials and inventory) can influence a business from a cost standpoint. She also discusses how “stuff” and uncontrollable events can interrupt the business cycle. She offers practical advice on how to manage this “stuff” to make business more efficient in terms of capital.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Begin by discussing how “stuff” can influence competitive advantage.
  2. Ms. Abrams mentions several consequences (i.e., missed opportunities) that can result from having too much “stuff.” How might this influence value creation?
  3. We typically think of inventory as something related to manufacturing. Discuss why it is important for any kind of business to be concerned with inventory.
  4. Discuss the pros and cons of just-in-time systems for managing the “stuff” problem.

SOURCE: R. Abrams, “Entrepreneurs, Don’t Let Your ‘Stuff’ Control Your Business,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/abrams/2011-05-26-entrepreneurs-reduce-your-stuff_n.htm)

Posted by & filed under Ethics.

More potential corruption in the world of international sports surfaced this week with charges that two top executives of the Federation Internationale de Football Association offered bribes to voting members. Mohamed bin Hamman is accused of offering to pay $40,000 each for as many 25 votes to become president of the governing body. Jack Warner is also accused of helping to arrange the bribes. The two, along with two other lesser officials, were suspended. Mr. bin Hamman countercharged that Joseph Blatter failed to report payments.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Is it relevant to invoke ethics into an examination of these allegations? What might or might not make this case a question of ethical behavior?
  2. Given that this is an international ruling body, with membership from around the globe, how might differences in values relate to what has taken place? Are there cultural issues to consider?
  3. Is there any kind of ethical dilemma here? If so, what is it and for whom is there a dilemma?
  4. Obviously, word got out that bribes were offered. Why might one of the 25 voters report the offer rather than take the bribe? Use moral development as your explanation. Why might someone blow the whistle?
  5. Most likely, FIFA has some kind of code of ethics. Discuss how this is supposed to prevent unethical behavior and talk about why it did not work in this case.

SOURCE: J. Espinoza, “FIFA Suspends Two Official in Bribery Probe,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576353563661829134.html)

See related video:

Posted by & filed under Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has delayed issuing a 72-hour strike notice and has presented a new contract proposal.

Source: The Canadian Press

Date: 05/24/2011

Link:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gq5I8PJuRlFbeXz7CyzcDBChZaJg?docId=6926829

Related links:

Questions for discussion:

  • What conditions must be met before a union like CUPW can legally strike?
  • What are the issues in this dispute?
  • What impact do you think a postal strike would have?
  • How have technological developments, such as email and online banking, affected the union’s bargaining position ?
  • How might a union respond to such changes?
  • In the event of a strike, what arguments would be used in favour of a government back-to-work order?
  • What arguments would be used against such an order?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues.

Description: The United Food and Commercial Workers union has filed a complaint with the B.C. Labour Relations Board claiming that the Mexican government and a B.C. farm have blocked a pro-union seasonal worker from returning to this country.

Source: Macleans.ca

Date: 05/24/2011

Link: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/05/24/what-happened-down-on-the-farm/

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Questions for discussion:

  • What is the role of the B.C. Labour Relations Board in this case?
  • What would you expect to happen next?
  • We have seen in earlier updates on this site that some people argue that agriculture should be treated differently from other areas of the economy when it comes to industrial relations. Do you think those arguments apply here?
  • Why or why not?
  • How does the alleged involvement of the Mexican government complicate this case?

Posted by & filed under Human Resource Management.

With crude oil prices hovering at $100/barrel, the surge in development in oil-rich Alberta means the demand for workers is also increasing (predicted to peak by the end of 2012). A labour shortage means that energy companies are looking south to Mexico and overseas for available workers. These companies are acting now because immigration paperwork and training take time.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Which major responsibility of human resource management is addressed in the article?
  2. What are the demands of global human resource management associated with the oil sands labour crunch?
  3. What are the challenges (of foreign workers) in terms of training and development? What is the best approach for dealing with this?

SOURCE: N. Vanderklippe, “Gearing Up for a New Labour Crunch,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/gearing-up-for-a-new-labour-crunch/article2031520/singlepage/#articlecontent)

Posted by & filed under Human Resource Management, Operations Management.

As Volkswagen opens its new plant in Tennessee, talks renew about how labor, particularly unionized labor, influence the cost of new vehicles and the viability of automakers. While foreign manufacturers are locating in the South and paying about half the amount a union worker makes, the Big Three in Detroit have been unable to see significant gains from wage concessions by the unions post-bailout.

QUESTIONS:

  1. [Chapter 11] Compare the wages paid by Detroit automakers and foreign automakers in the South. Discuss the net effect of labor contracts for employers and employees.
  2. Do differences in labor costs (American vs. foreign manufacturers) alter the productivity equation? Why or why not?
  3. Is labor cost a source of competitive advantage? Discuss.
  4. How do labor costs influence breakeven points? Where do they fit in the breakeven point equation?

SOURCE: M. Ramsey, “VW Alters Labor-Cost Equation,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704083904576335501132396440.html)

Posted by & filed under Environment.

Labelux, a German luxury goods company, will purchase Jimmy Choo, Ltd. from TowerBrook Capital for a reported £400-550 million. Under Labelux, the high-end women’s shoe and bag maker will be expanding its line and focus on developing the Asian market, particularly in China. Co-founder Tamara Mellon, of British Vogue fame, will retain her minority share of the company and continue serving as Chief Creative Officer.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Based on your reading of the article, what dynamic forces make this a good acquisition for Labelux?
  2. What competitive advantage(s) does Jimmy Choo gain from being acquired by Labelux, which also owns Bally Shoe?
  3. Describe the level of environmental uncertainty for Jimmy Choo moving forward.

SOURCE: M. Haddon, “Labelux Buys Jimmy Choo,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304066504576339423661349398.html)