I am now finally emerging from the mental fog induced by the 24-7 triennial marathon otherwise known as "CAW major auto bargaining." To close the circle, here are my thoughts in retrospect on the bargaining: how the union prepared for it, the issues at stake, the contents of the final deal, and the challenges that remain ahead for the CAW (and for anyone else with an interest in the future of manufacturing here).
Over the past 12 months, a number of pundits, academics and pollsters have suggested that support for unions and the labour movement is on the decline in Canada. Capitalizing on this perceived shift in attitude, Conservative members of both federal and provincial legislatures have taken the opportunity to advance their own agenda and arguably weaken the bargaining power of Canadian unions relative to employers. Some actions, such as repeated use of back-to-work legislation by Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt have left many wondering what the future of collective bargaining will look like in Canada and whether or not workers will have a "right to strike" going forward.
Back-to-work legislation in Canada