Bold innovation or Trojan Horse? (Guest commentary)

There are four main issues in the CAW-Magna deal, and two of them haven’t received much press
By Carla Lipsig-Mumme
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/10/2008

A number of months have passed since the earth moved in Canadian labour relations — that fateful day when the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union and Magna International signed the Framework of Fairness Agreement (FFA).

The FFA will allow Magna production workers across Ontario to vote on joining the CAW, unimpeded by company pressure. Currently, there are about 18,000 production workers in 45 manufacturing facilities in Ontario, few of whom are unionized. In return for Magna not blocking union recognition elections, the CAW agrees that strikes are to be replaced by binding arbitration for at least three years and there will be no union-based grievance procedure.

The deal raises a lot of questions. Is it good for workers? Is it good for sectoral and provincial prosperity? What does it mean for job security? Is it bold new thinking or a Trojan Horse?