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Objectives The student will be able to: Explain public sector significance Identify a public sector worker Describe the evolution of bargaining Discuss recent developments in public sector labour relations Differentiate between public and private sector bargaining

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Objectives l.jpg
Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • Explain public sector significance

  • Identify a public sector worker

  • Describe the evolution of bargaining

  • Discuss recent developments in public sector labour relations

  • Differentiate between public and private sector bargaining

  • Describe public sector dispute resolution


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The Importance the Public Sector

  • Essential nature of work performed, i.e. teachers, health care, garbage collection, snow removal, etc.

  • No readily available substitute

  • Sizeable share of workforce and union membership

  • In state of crisis with deficits


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The Public Sector Worker

  • Types of public sector workers

    • Federal and provincial civil services

    • Municipalities

    • Health care

    • Education

  • Steady decline in employment percentage

  • Union density rates higher than private


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Public Sector Unionism

  • Developed much later than private sector

    • Most workers not unionized until 1967 Public Service Staff Relations Act

    • Emerged fully in very short time


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Early Public Sector Unionism

  • Early years

    • Public employee associations

    • Believed that nature of work ruled out collective bargaining

    • Didn’t like adversarial tone of traditional unions

    • National Joint Council for all federal government workers had no real power

  • Transition to new federal government granted bargaining rights


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Impacts of PSSRA

After PSSRA (1967) gave federal

employees the right to join unions:

  • Public sector unionization grew rapidly

  • Given right to binding arbitration or conciliation-strike

  • Essential services designated


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End of the Golden Age

  • Between 1960s and 1975 negotiated significant improvements in wages and working conditions

  • In 1975 federal government imposed three-year program of wage and price controls

  • Governments began to take harder line

  • Unions responded with increased militancy


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The 1980s: Wage Controls

  • Wage controls again in 1980s

  • Quebec rolled back public sector wages

  • Some governments removed right to strike

  • Sweeping changes to labour legislation in some jurisdictions


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1990s Retrenchment and Restructuring

  • Continuing public sector wage freezes

  • Suspension of collective bargaining

  • Governments reduced size and scope of operations

  • Growing lack of job security

  • First full scale public strike in 1991


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1990s Retrenchment and Restructuring

  • Similar action throughout provinces

    • Unpopular municipal restructuring

    • Labour parties in power also downsizing

    • Centralization of decision-making

    • Frozen wages and reductions in pay


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The Twenty-First Century

  • Late 1990s most governments moved from a deficit to surplus

  • Gradual collective bargaining resumption

  • Provincial governments take tough measures including back to work legislation in late 1990s


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Distinctions Between Public

and Private Sector Bargaining

  • Dual role of government as employer and legislator

  • Greater diffusion of public sector management authority

    • Many departments have both administrative and political role and different funding sources

  • Political power vs. economics

    • Strikes can benefit public body financially

    • Lack of “bottom line”


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Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining

  • Public sector employee differences:

    • More likely female, professional and white-collar

    • Pay and employment equity issues

    • Reimbursement of professional dues issue

    • Same job security, income levels, hours of work, workload concerns as private sector


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Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining

  • Union differences:

    • Inherently political

    • Political action and publicity campaigns

    • Representation quite fragmented, particularly in health care and education

    • Different unions may compete for same group of workers


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Distinctions Between Public and Private Sector Bargaining

  • Legislative and policy differences:

    • Greater degree of variation in dispute resolution methods

    • More restriction on public unions’ rights

    • May be several different laws that apply to public sector unions

    • Restrictions on who can strike

    • Local political considerations play role


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Bargaining Unit Determination

  • Scope of bargaining unit may be spelled out in legislation

    • May be legislative requirement that certain union represents employees

  • Scope of bargaining issues

    • Severely limited in public sector which may hurt process

    • Restrictions are a source of conflict


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Public Sector Dispute Resolution Procedures

Alternative procedures:

  • Back-to-work legislation

  • Imposition of binding arbitration

    • Conventional interest arbitration

    • Final-offer selection

  • Choice of Procedures

  • Controlled strike


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Future of Public Sector Bargaining

  • Extremely conflict-ridden

  • Increase in workloads/lack of job security

  • Tough stance on public sector wages make it impossible for employees to make up losses

  • Escalation of severe tensions


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Future of Public Sector Bargaining

  • Fryer Committee, task force of managers, union officials, and academics established

    • Found a serious lack of trust and respect between parties

    • Chief recommendation was for new institutional framework for labour– management relations

    • Recommended creation of a Public interest Disputes Resolution Committee and a Compensation Research Bureau

    • Public Service Labour Act replaced the PSSRA in April 2005


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Future of Public Sector Bargaining

  • If public sector is to have the same creative solutions as the private sector, they will need the full range of bargaining tools available

  • Fist step is to expand the scope of bargaining


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