Collective bargaining under fire: Hargrove

Ottawa’s intervention in recent labour disputes ‘anti-democratic, un-Canadian’
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/08/2011

Collective bargaining is the cornerstone of any democracy and has been respected and supported by the Canadian government for decades, according to Buzz Hargrove, former president of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW). However, recent moves by Ottawa — as seen with labour disputes at Canada Post and Air Canada — are threatening that process, he said.

“There’s no respect left for the collective bargaining process,” he said. “It’s about government coming in on behalf of employers and defending employers, almost guaranteeing they’re going to win the dispute…. It’s so anti-democratic, it’s so un-Canadian.”

But workers will respond, said Hargrove, speaking at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto in October, where he is external director of the Centre for Labour Management Relations (CLMR).