A recipe for labour peace

Combine a highly trusted senior HR person, a willingness to work with unions and an absence of jargon
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/21/2007

Whenever industrial relations make the news in Canada, chances are it’s a bad news story. With more than 30 years’ experience as an industrial relations professor and 20 years’ as an arbitrator, Allen Ponak knows there’s more to it out there. So, along with film maker Bert Painter, he set out to find the untold stories. The result is the documentary Beyond Collision: High Integrity Labour Relations, which features stories of union-management collaboration at four workplaces: NorskeCanada (now Catalyst Paper), Calgary Laboratory Services, Canadian Pacific Railway and the Department of National Defence. In 2006, the documentary won a Silver Screen award at the International Film and Video Festival in Los Angeles.

Uyen Vu, Canadian HR Reporter’s news editor, caught up with Ponak, now a full-time arbitrator and professor emeritus of industrial relations at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, to discuss lessons he learned while making the film. For one of the case studies profiled in the documentary, see article #5022.


Why did you set out to do this documentary?