Labour Day is here. A last opportunity to enjoy a little bit of the summer with our friends, family and loved ones. But for the labour movement, it’s a time to do more than reflect -- Labour Day is a time to think about moving ahead, and where we need to go as a social movement.
We learned this year during strikes in Windsor and Toronto that the easiest way for business and government to avoid responsibility for the mistakes they have made for decades is to deflect blame and accuse unionized workers of being out of touch with new realities. It conveniently ignores the reality they created, while helping to perpetuate their hold on power, as if they hadn’t created the conditions which led to our current economic crisis.
As chief negotiator for the CAW in the recent round of talks with Air Canada, I have seen first-hand the shortcomings of privatizing and deregulating key sectors of our economy.
After months of bargaining, all five Air Canada unions have now agreed to cost-neutral collective agreements for a period of 21 months. We've joined the retirees in agreeing to allow Air Canada a funding moratorium on past contributions to the pension plan for the same period. This is a funding risk that will be borne by the employees and retirees in order to help Air Canada through bad times.
Air Canada is once again teetering on the brink of bankruptcy protection (CCAA), after just emerging from CCAA six years ago.
Unions are typically responsible for collective bargaining but what if a workplace has yet to be unionized? Workers still can effectively negotiate with employers as long as they maintain solidarity throughout. An employer can't risk all of her/his employees walking out at once or refusing certain tasks. Because of this workers can band together and make specific demands to improve the workplace. This guide will cover:
What collective bargaining is
How to decide demands
Marching on the boss