MANDATORY UNION MEMBERSHIP UPHELD
Ottawa — Quebec legislation requiring construction workers to hold membership in one of five approved unions has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. In a narrow five to four ruling, the judges rejected the argument that the freedom to associate protected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the right not to associate.
CAW GAINS FOOTHOLD AT MAGNA
Windsor, Ont. — Auto parts producer Magna International’s seeming immunity to union certification has come to an end. About 700 workers at a Magna subsidiary ratified a deal with the Canadian Auto Workers union on Nov. 10. A key provision of which is the no strikes/no lockouts provision, which guarantees no work interruptions during the term of the agreement.
PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS CALLED UNPOPULAR
Ottawa — Public servants should be allowed to attend union meetings at work and during working hours, according to long-time labour leader John Fryer. Many public service workers are alienated from their unions because meetings are held off-site and after hours. As a result they are dominated by a handful of “dedicated” people who don’t represent the will of the membership, Fryer told a parliamentary committee, last month. Fryer led a group that spent a year examining federal labour relations. He concluded that public service workers are so unhappy with their union many would vote to end their membership if given the chance.
B.C. EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS REVIEWED
Vancouver — Proposed cuts to the Employment Standards Branch of British Columbia’s labour ministry will make it impossible to enforce what little rights workers will have left after the province weakens the Employment Standards Act, says the B.C. Federation of Labour. Guaranteed overtime pay, limits on hours worked and termination guidelines, among other standards, are under review.