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

Description: Candidates for the leadership of the New Democratic Party are competing to line up support from unions.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Date: 01/06/2012

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/topp-lands-calverts-support-as-ndp-rivals-burnish-union-credentials/article2294036/

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why are NDP leadership candidates seeking union support?
  • Describe the historical relationship between the NDP and labour in Canada. (Refer to your textbook.)
  • What are the advantages of this relationship for unions?
  • What are the advantages for the NDP?
  • What are the disadvantages for both?
  • How have election spending laws affected the relationship?

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

Description: Experts say the weakening of union power has increased income inequality in Canada.

Source: The Huffington Post Canada

Date: 12/12/2011

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/canada-income-inequality-decline-unions-middle-class-jobs_n_1139136.html?ref=canada&ref=canada-business

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the causes of union decline in Canada in recent years.
  • Do you think this decline was inevitable?
  • Why or why not?
  • What do you think are the consequences of income inequality?
  • Summarize Margaret Wente’s arguments. Do you agree with them?
  • Why or why not?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 13 - Future Issues, Chapter 2 - Theories of Industrial Relations, Chapter 3 - HIstory of the Canadian Union Movement, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: Howard Levitt, a labour lawyer and columnist for the National Post, urges public sector employers to lock out unions until they capitulate.

Source: The National Post

Date: 12/07/2011

Link: http://business.financialpost.com/2011/12/07/prescription-for-year-of-public-sector-unrest/

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Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think would happen if public sector employers followed Mr. Levitt’s advice?
  • What do you think would be the public reaction?
  • Do you think this approach meets the test of bargaining in good faith?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you agree with Mr. Levitt’s arguments?
  • Why or why not?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 8 - The Collective Bargaining Process, Chapter 9 - Strikes and Lockouts.

Description: The B.C. Labour Relations Board has dismissed an application by school employers to force teachers to fill out report cards, as a contract dispute continues.

Source: The Victoria Times-Colonist

Date: 11/30/2011

Link: http://www.timescolonist.com/business/teachers+score+battle+over+report+cards/5788212/story.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • What, exactly, did the employer ask the B.C. Labour Relations Board to do?
  • Why are teachers refusing to fill out report cards?
  • Why did the board dismiss the employer’s application?
  • Do you agree with the reasoning?
  • Why or why not?
  • What effect do you think this application and the decision will have on negotiations?

Posted by & filed under Chapter 1 - Introduction, Chapter 12 - Changes to the Union or the Employer, Chapter 13 - Future Issues.

Description: Unionized workers at a B.C. Zellers want American retail giant Target to honour their collective agreement when it takes over their store next year.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Date: 12/02/2011

Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Zellers+staff+want+union+agreement+honoured/5800974/story.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • Why does the union believe the contract should be honoured?
  • What is Target’s argument against honouring the contract?
  • The Globe story says Target’s “low-cost operating model … relies on competitive compensation and flexibility in scheduling shifts and assigning tasks.” What terms do you think the union would use to describe that model?
  • Review the section in your text on successorship. What principles will the B.C. Labour Relations Board use to decide this case?
  • Based on what you know, do you think the collective agreement should continue to apply?
  • Why or why not?

Posted by & filed under Entrepreneurship, Environment, Social Responsibility.

Merk Pharmaceuticals, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the Asthma and Allergy foundations of America, Carpenter and Carter Oosterhouse, and HGTV are building four asthma- friendly homes catering to low income families with asthmatic patients. This project is a part of a build smart, breathe easier asthma education campaign.

Questions:

  1. Would this step of building Asthma friendly homes help control people’s asthma and improvise their living? Or is this another idea that will come up as promoting more people to pay more for expensive constructions?
  2. Should these homes be just focused on low income groups or the population as a whole?
  3. Do you suggest this campaign is effective? Suggest some more ways to add to this campaign to be used in Canada.

SOURCE: Associated Press, “Companies build Homes with Asthma-Friendly Features For Low-Income Families” Financial Post (Retrievable online http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/11/15/companies-build-homes-with-asthma-friendly-features-for-low-income-families/)

Posted by & filed under Environment, Social Responsibility.

Warren Buffet, 81, the third richest person in the world, mentions that shareholders of US companies are enjoying the economy, while most workers suffer due high unemployment rates and low home values. He predicts that the U.S. housing market will come back in a few years, while employment remains a problem that needs to be faced. While jobless rates have been stuck at 9% since last two years, hourly wages (considering inflation) were below 1.8% since last year.

Questions:

  1. At present does Canada follow the same pattern in terms on employment and housing industry?
  2. Does the situation in housing industry also affect the corporate world, people’s spending power and eventually profits for the firms?
  3. How should one invest in their portfolios in order to have a safe investment and to avoid adverse affects of various industries?

SOURCE: Andrew Frye, “While U.S. workers struggle, investors prospering: Buffett”, Financial Post (Retrievable online at http://business.financialpost.com/2011/11/15/while-u-s-workers-struggle-investors-prospering-buffett/)

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

Description: Three migrant farm workers are suing the federal government and their former employer after allegedly being thrown out of the country without explanation.

Source: Globe and Mail

Date: 11/24/2011

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/migrant-workers-sue-ottawa-and-farm-for-breaching-contract-charter-rights/article2248184/

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Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize the workers’ claim.
  • What are some of the challenges this suit might face?
  • Summarize the worker/employer arrangement under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program.
  • Do you think the terms of this program are fair?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think non-Canadians should have rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
  • Why or why not?

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

Description: Students are heading back to class after professors at Brandon University accepted a tentative agreement.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Date: 11/28/2011

Link: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/bu-students-set-for-their-return-134579833.html

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Questions for discussion:

  • What did the Manitoba government do to try to end this strike?
  • What effect do you think that action had?
  • Do you think the fact that Manitoba has an NDP government made a difference in this case?
  • Why or why not?
  • Dr. Doorey asks, “Should we add professors to the growing list of workers who should not have a right to strike?” What do you think? Why?

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

Description: After a 28-year battle, female clerical workers at Canada Post have won a $150-million pay equity award.

Source: The National Post

Date: 11/17/2011

Link: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/17/after-28-year-pay-equity-fight-female-postal-workers-awarded-150-million/

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Questions for discussion:

  • Whom does this decision affect?
  • The Canada Human Rights Act says men and women doing work of equal value should be paid equally. How would you define “work of equal value”?
  • Why do you think it took almost 30 years to resolve this case?
  • Why do you think the Supreme Court decided so quickly?
  • Since this case began, the pay equity laws have been changed. The National Post story says the changes “prevent public servants from turning to the courts to obtain settlements in pay-equity cases. Instead, they would require female workers to achieve wage parity with their male colleagues through collective bargaining.” What are the pros and cons of such an approach?