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

Description: Social media carry both risks and benefits for unionized workplaces.

Source: The Calgary Herald

Date: 01/28/2012

Link: http://www.calgaryherald.com/jobs/Navigating+social+media+maze/6066665/story.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • What does Wayne Benedict mean when he describes social media as “a double-edged sword”?
  • Do you agree?
  • Can you think of some ways in which unions could use social media?
  • How would you feel about such practices if you were an employer?
  • What, if any, social media policies do you think employers and unions should develop?
  • Would you work for a company that banned access to social media?

Posted by & filed under Change, Environment, Management, Planning, Strategy.

Larry Keeley, consultant at tech.fortune.cnn.com, advises how firms must focus on innovating and developing new platforms. He suggests that the entire focus of the firm must not be on trying to grow in familiar ways. Even though Kodak knew about the rise in digital technology, it failed in its existing strategic approach to combat the change.  It tried to use its existing strength in organic chemistry and optics to create some excellent products. It lost when the new businesses did not generate much revenue.

Questions:

  1. What can we learn from Kodak’s Collapse?
  2. What would you suggest firms do in order to keep innovating?
  3. Can you name other firms that failed because they neglected new market trends?

 

SOURCE: Harvey Schachter, “Lessons learned from Kodak’s collapse” The Globe and Mail (Retrievable online http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/management/morning-manager/lessons-learned-from-kodaks-collapse/article2318054/)

Posted by & filed under Environment, Global Management, Management.

Over the past ten years, Canadian manufacturers have been able to boost employment, increase production and subsequently grow exports. This growth has been possible because manufacturers built more specialized and value added products and also because the Canadian and international markets experienced high growth. Small firms have been more successful than their larger counterparts; a trend that is prevalent even in very competitive sectors like clothing. Despite a strong hit in European imports, the world imports as a whole have not suffered a lot due to the growth in emerging economies.

Questions:

  1. Where do you foresee Canada in terms of manufacturing in the next ten years?
  2. In which Canadian manufacturing sectors, do you think we will we see the highest growth?
  3. In terms of the world economy, do you think the emerging economies would take over North America and Europe?
  4. Would you agree that the US growth in manufacturing sector is short-lived? Why?

SOURCE: Bertrand Marotte, “Canadian manufacturing makes gains despite headwinds”, The Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/features/at-the-bell/canadian-manufacturing-makes-gains-despite-headwinds/article2318806/

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 12 - Changes to the Union or the Employer, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 2 - Theories of Industrial Relations, Chapter 3 - HIstory of the Canadian Union Movement, Chapter 4 - The Structure of Canadian Unions.

Description: As two of Canada’s largest unions explore a merger, a confidential union report says that labour must become more relevant to Canadians.

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: 01/26/2012

Link: http://www.thestar.com/article/1121505–unions-must-change-quickly-to-survive-says-secret-report-by-cep-caw

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why do you think these two unions are thinking about merging?
  • What do you think would be the advantages of such a merger?
  • What do you think would be the disadvantages of such a merger?
  • If you were a member of one of these unions, how would you vote on a merger proposal?
  • The confidential report referred to in the Toronto Star story recommends creating a “brand” and “visibility for a new kind of national Canadian industrial unionism.” What do you think about this advice?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 10 - Third-Party Intervention, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process.

Description: About 250 — some reports said 350 — Toronto paramedics held a rally asking that they be declared an essential service.

Source: CBC

Date: 01/24/2012

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/01/24/toronto-paramedics-protest-essential-service.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • In industrial relations terms, what is an essential service?
  • Who would make the final decision on whether Toronto paramedics are an essential service?
  • Describe the process by which an application for an essential service designation would be made in this case.
  • What reason is the city giving for not making an immediate decision?
  • What effect would an essential service declaration have on the paramedics?
  • Why do you think they are asking to be declared an essential service?
  • What is binding interest arbitration? Why do you think the paramedics favour it?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 3 - HIstory of the Canadian Union Movement, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Jim Stanford, an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers union, writes that employers, who once opposed work stoppages, are now eager to lock out unions.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 01/20/2012

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/management-has-warmed-to-work-stoppages/article2308417/print/

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize Jim Stanford’s argument.
  • What is his solution?
  • Do you agree with his analysis?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think the current situation requires government action?
  • Why or why not?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 10 - Third-Party Intervention, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process.

Description: Halifax transit workers have voted nearly unanimously in favour of striking if an agreement with the city cannot be reached by Feb. 2.

Source: The Halifax Chronicle Herald

Date: 01/23/2012

Link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/54722-transit-workers-vote-strike

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the issues in this dispute.
  • What is the key issue?
  • What did the employer do almost immediately after contract negotiations began?
  • What is the meaning of this move? (Consult your text.)
  • Why do you think the employer took that action at that time?

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

Description: White Birch Paper Co. is shutting its Stadacona paper mill in Quebec City after union members voted to reject a contract offer.

Source: CBC

Date: 01/13/2012

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/01/13/white-birch-quebec.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why does the employer say it has to close the mill?
  • What is the union’s position?
  • Why do you think the workers overwhelmingly rejected the offer?
  • Based on what you know about this situation, how would you have voted if you were a union member?
  • What would you have done if you were an executive of the employer?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 7 - Defining and Commencing Collective Bargaining, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process.

Description: As contract negotiations begin, the union representing B.C. government liquor store workers says the government could make millions by opening more stores on Sundays.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Date: 01/10/2012

Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Union+proposes+Sunday+openings+more+liquor+stores+ahead+talks/5971560/story.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why do you think the union is making this proposal?
  • How do you think the public will respond to this proposal?
  • How do you think the government will respond?
  • What is a “cooperative gains” mandate?
  • What arguments can you think of in favour of and against a wage freeze for public sector workers?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Employers facing tough economic conditions are increasingly taking a tough line with organized labour.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 01/07/2011

Link: http://investdb1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/GAM.20120107.RBCOVERLABOURCLASHES0107ATL/GIStory/

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize Caterpillar Inc.’s actions at its London, Ont. subsidiary.
  • Why do you think the company is taking such a tough line?
  • Do you agree with the company’s actions?
  • Why or why not?
  • What do you think the next year will bring for industrial relations in Canada?