Collective agreements between worker groups and their employers have been in the news at various levels this past while. Every employee wants to be compensated fairly and the agreements ensure that, as well as ensuring that the employer can count on effective and reliable work. Agreements outlines the conditions of work, level of pay, and benefits.
I find it very interesting to read the news stories and the message from the media about each. The newspaper also has the option to comment on the story and that can be interesting in itself and telling of the local community. Used properly, it can be a place to get thoughtful discussion. Used improperly, the trolls appear.
Here are three that I followed with some interest.
A huge employer with a huge workforce in three Ontario locations, including Windsor. Ratification on an agreement happened over the weekend giving raises, signing bonuses, and a promise of a $325M investment in updating a paint shop in Brampton. This will ensure that products will continue to be produced in Ontario. Lately, a big investment was made in the Windsor plant to build the new Pacifica. As a former owner of two Caravans, it’s a beautiful update. You’d think that the workers would be pleased but the agreement only had 70% agreement. The comments to the article give a public forum for workers and also people in the community to have their thoughts on the agreement. Not all is postive.
On the heels of the successful agreement and ratification of the FCA deal, comes news that custodians, secretaries, clerical workers, technicians and maintenance workers for the local Catholic School Board have withdrawn their services. They have been without an agreement in place for a couple of years and have decided that enough is enough and have moved to the next level. In advance of the withdrawal of services, the board indicated that any student who didn’t cross the picket line would be marked absent. While there are no talks scheduled, management will be doing their best to keep the facilities clean but they can only go so far.
Normally, you would think that this is a good news story until you read why. Some of the surplus comes from the fact that the county librarians have been on strike since June. For residents, it’s been a summer without a place to get your traditional summer reads. There doesn’t appear to be any end in sight over this one; even an attempt at mediation of both sides have failed. As part of the public awareness plan, the local library is on the list for rotating strikes by librarians.
Now, nobody denies that anyone should be compensated fairly for their efforts. It’s interesting that big business can somehow find a way to reach a collective agreement and also invest heavily in infrastructure to ensure continued success. Literacy and education, things that I and I know many hold near and dear to our hearts, isn’t treated nearly as well. Obviously, we won’t know the final details as negotiations are technically ongoing, but I’d be willing to bet that the librarians aren’t asking for a $325M new library in one of the communities to ensure jobs into the future.