What is it? An organization of workers that collectively promotes the interest of its member and negotiates with employers. Does much more than affect wage rates Have been shaping labour relations, laws, and working conditions in Canada for over 150 years
Three Common Types Trade Unions (Craft Unions) Industrial Unions
Public Sector Unions
Trade Unions Represent workers in a single occupation regardless of where they work. Ex. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Very common in construction industry.
Industrial Unions Represent all workers in a given industry regardless of the job that they perform Ex. Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) Represent workers in the automobile industry whether they are on the assembly line or maintenance workers.
Public Sector Unions Represent workers who are employed by any of the levels of government in Canada. Ex. Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Union Membership The “Local” – the local branch of the union.
Join the union through the local Pay union dues to the local (local keeps small portion) Members vote for officers of the local Local officers conduct negotiations between workers and employers SMALL PART OF THE UNION BUT IMPORTANT!
The negotiation between representatives of workers and employers with the purpose of establishing terms and conditions of employment that are acceptable to both sides. Collective Agreement = the contract What if an agreement cannot be reached?
Arbitration An arrangement in a dispute in which both labour and management agree to accept the decision of a third party (arbitrator)
A situation in a dispute in which both labour and management agree to submit their proposals to a third party. Unlike an arbitrator, a conciliator cannot bind the two parties.
Strike A strike a temporary work stoppage by employees
Designed to force an employer to meet the union’s contractual demands Majority of workers have to agree to take this action Certain conditions must be met (expiry of old collective agreement, use of conciliation or mediation)
Lockout A lockout occurs when an employer shuts down the place of employment in order to force workers to accept its contract offer Equivalent to a strike but from the employers perspective
Strike/Lockout Costs of both are high (wages and output)
Related industries can be affected Consumers may not be able to obtain goods or services (bus strike) Can interfere with pension amount Other strategies can be used Rotating strike Work-to-rule Boycott
Rotating Strike Union organizes the withdraw of services at individual work sites on a rotating basis (for usually a day or two) Less disruption Less output and wages lost
Work-to-Rule When employees perform only the duties specifically stated in their contracts Effective when employees find that they are performing a lot of work after hours
Boycott In a boycott, people are asked not to purchase the product produced by the employer Lower sales to the point where the employer might reconsider its position
Open Shop/Closed Shop Open Shop Union – membership is voluntary.
Closed Shop Union – the employer may only hire workers who are already members of the union Union Shop – hire whoever, but they must eventually join the union
Fringe Benefits Payments and services other than wages that are provided by the employer Medical/Dental Pension Life insurance Paid vacation Cost-of-living Allowances – keep wages increasing on par with general price increases
Unions and Wages Unions can use their power to gain wage increases through: Restricting the supply of labour Increasing the demand for labour Balancing the power of monopolies and oligopolies
Restricting the supply of labour
Long apprenticeships High union initiation fees Refuse new members Refuse to let non-union members do the job
Increase the demand for labour
Help employers modernize plants and improve worker productivity Encourage the purchase of union-made products Reduce amount of non-union made products
Balance of Power of Monopolies and Oligopolies
Organize workers to give them more power and employer less
Word Power What do you think the following terms mean? Sweated labour
Wildcat Strike Blacklist Scab Yellow-dog contract Feather-bedding Sweetheart agreement or contract Stoolie
Questions Explain the difference between a trade union and an industrial union List the terms that are negotiated through collective bargaining What kind of help is available to unions and employers if they cannot reach a collective agreement on their own? Besides a strike, what other tools can a union use to apply pressure? How do unions attempt to raise wages of their members besides through collective bargains?
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