IDRL 305 v4: Collective Bargaining Report a Broken Link

Lesson 10


Required Readings
Adams, R. (2008). From statutory right to human right: The evolution and current status of collective bargaining. Just Labour, 12, 48-67. In its 2007 BC Health Services Decision the Supreme Court of Canada, much to the surprise of the Canadian labour relations community, affirmed the human rights status of collective bargaining. This article reviews the emergence and general characteristics of the modern international human rights regime, traces the evolution of collective bargaining as a human right, considers the extent to which Canada falls short of full compliance with international norms regarding collective bargaining as a human right, and suggests a way forward.
Savage, L. (2008). Labour rights as human rights? A response to Roy Adams. Just Labour, 12, 68-75. In recent years, a number of leading industrial relations scholars, including Roy Adams, have endeavoured to link labour rights and human rights in an attempt to shift the debate about the nature of labour relations in the North American context. In this reply to Adams, the author argues that the labour rights as human rights approach threatens to undermine class-based responses to neoliberal globalization by contributing to the depoliticization of the labour movement. He asserts that the workers’ rights as human rights approach tends to downplay or altogether ignore the material dimension of collective worker action and the central role of economic conflict in the employment relationship. He argues that the labour rights as human rights approach, although popular in both theory and discourse, is a potentially dangerous strategy for a labour movement which continues to fight a defensive battle in an era of neoliberal globalization.
Supplementary Readings
Adams, R. (2008). I-mode, the new language of workers' rights: A rejoinder to Larry Savage. Just Labour, 12, 76-86. This article is a rebuttal to the Larry Savage article. Here, Adams argues that Savage writes as if the “workers’ rights are human rights” theme is the creation of intellectuals musing in their ivory tower isolated from the struggles of workers and their organizations. According to Adams, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Required Readings
Fells, R. (2000). Labour-management negotiation: Some insights into strategy and language. Relations Industrielles, 55(4), 583-605. Management and union negotiators have the choice of adopting competitive or problem-solving strategies to find acceptable outcomes but they may also have to yield, a process which is less clearly understood. Competing, problem solving and yielding have to be conveyed to those sitting across the bargaining table. Using material from a transcript of an Australian labour-management negotiation, negotiators are seen to rely on simple positional statements rather than argument to convey their commitment, while problem-solving activities appear to be squeezed in between other more competitive interactions. Giving ground is done quietly and without much fuss, concessions are muted or foreshadowed rather than made explicitly.

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Lesson 21


Required Readings
Foster, Jason (2006). Conflict and solidarity: How the Lakeside workers won their union. Our Times, 24(6), 28-35. A commentary on the strike by workers at Lakeside Packers in Brooks, Alberta, in the fall of 2005.   This article is required reading if you choose to respond to Case 2 in Assignment 3.