Jacques de Staercke
L'auteur indique ici l'apport spécifique du christianisme à la pensée et à l'activité des mouvements patronaux nommément catholiques. Il précise la qualité de la spiritualité du chef d'entreprise, qui doit réaliser chez lui une communauté de travail chrétienne et efficace. Il définit les diverses tâches dun mouvement patronal catholique. Il en décrit enfin les méthodes et les moyens d'action.
A movement is the incarnation of an idea, a doctrine; it is the expression of a concern; it has a message to deliver. A movement becomes an organization only when it has to make its doctrine more effective and its message more penetrating.
This fundamental attitude illustrates the difference which exists between, on the one hand, purely industrial employers' organizations set up in the first place, and often solely, in order to defend the industrial and material interests of their members, and, on the other hand, Christian employers' movements formed to bear witness to a Christian conception of economic life and social order.
The Catholic Employers' Movement was born out of the awakening of Christian conscience in employers. The position of employer, when exercised by those who have been enlightened by union with Christ, cannot be the same as that of a non-Christian, even when correctly exercised.
The first source of the Catholic Employers' Movement is concerned with the spirituality of the head of the business. If our movements exist, it is, above all, in order to assist business executives to seek Christian perfection in and by their economic and social positions. They have to perfect the Christian, considered as an employer.
The search for employer spirituality is essentially that: to get employers to remake the unity of their lives by recentering all their activities on their union with the Lord. The willingness of a Christian business executive to achieve deep and harmonious employer spirituality will inevitably lead him to concern himself with the problem of Christianization within his business. This is the second object of our movements and is indissolubly allied to the first. The ways in which this concern for Christianization may show itself can be manifold and quite different. The essential point is that this concern should be lively and generate action.
The business executive who faces facts will realize that this Christianization cannot come about without previously or simultaneously seeking a genuine common spirit within the business. The creation of this common spirit within the business, difficult though it is, constitutes in logical order the third object of our associations.
And this object leads us to the last of our activities: the various techniques for improving working conditions. The common spirit within the business will, in fact, be the result of numerous initiatives concretely expressing a staff policy which really respects mankind and its supernatural finality. It is for this reason that our movements must give their attention to all means which will lead to an improvement in material and psychological working conditions and to humanizing work in modern industry to the greatest possible extent. It is also necessary to see that an atmosphere is created which is suitable for spreading the vocation of God's children.
To attain these ends, our movements must employ different methods as regards business, i.e. business executives personally, on the one hand, and as regards the institutions which shape society, on the other.
It can be seen how far we are from a mere defence of industrial or other interests. It can also be seen that there is no question of conflicting competence between our movements and purely industrial employers' organizations grouping employers of a certain sector or region. Our associations are complementary to the other employers' associations. Our association must eventually enable the others to possess an increasingly large number of business heads animated by the same ideal of social collaboration. In several countries the Catholic Employers' Movement plays, in this way, the part of an animator and pioneer as regards the general employers' association. It contributes to the creation of an atmosphere in which the ordinary employers' organization can be more positively and openly receptive to social and human realities.
Does this mean that a Catholic employers' movement cannot defend any industrial or material interest of its members, or of industry as a whole? Certainly not. Our movements often have to adopt a definite attitude in face of dangers arising out of unreasonable claims or undue State control.
They do so because dangers which threaten the employers' position menace the possibility of christianizing the workers' world and creating a genuine common spirit within the business. They reject certain measures because they suppose an organization of society incompatible with the human, Christian development of all its members.
The opposition by our movements to certain measures in the social and economic field cannot be dictated merely by the desire to defend certain interests, however legitimate they may be. This opposition is justified only by reference to the targets of spiritual development and human valorization of men at their work.
Our movements are not, therefore, ghettoes of employers seeking refuge in defensive union; they are, on the contrary, a training school for Christian employers and the techniques of social promotion. They are not means for covering up an ineffective social attitude with excellent general principles; they are, on the contrary, permanently exacting, a constant reminder to take a higher view of the office we hold.
Other tasks, no less important, devolve upon our movements. They must be the concrete expression of the social doctrine of the Church, based on the genuine co-operation of all concerned at the industrial level.
Our movements are, and must increasingly be, interested right from the start in anything concerned with the training of welfare workers, the creation of welfare services within firms, personnel departments, vocational training services, workers' housing, workers' savings campaigns, the application of a family policy, the setting up of compensation bodies and the granting of family benefits, the creation of co-operative societies, assistance to affiliated heads of business and, more recently, various schemes for the heigher training of business executives. In all these domains and in many others, the influence of the Catholic employers' movement must be determinant in the creation of suitable bodies and in drawing up fundamental legislation. As regards businesses the staff policy, its definition and execution, staff reception, information, the fullest use of committees and works councils, the constant improvement of physical and psychological working conditions, the perfection of better-known wage systems, the interesting of workers in the overall life of the business, the personal problems of young male and female workers, the elaboration and application of a genuine family policy, the problems of higher executives and lower grades, all offer Catholic employers organizations an unlimited field of action. They must not hesitate to tackle these problems technically, especially if minimum awareness can only be obtained by putting forward technical solutions.
Our movements must also influence the larger social and economic structures, through pressures on legislative and administrative bodies.
Were not our most recent intervention, however, sometimes marked by a certain negative attitude tending to safeguard existing situations? A more positive and far-sighted participation in the elaboration of new structures, expressed by a more flexible attitude, would seem to be a policy more in accordance with our fundamental principles.
It is certain that we played a considerable part in the first steps of liberal capitalism. Is it still the same today? Yet an important task awaits us the status of the firm, often breached by solutions which we content ourselves with rejecting en bloc instead of giving all our attention to those factors which lead trade-unions or opinion to advocate them, have to be remade.
Similarly as regards the "institutionalization" of the social dialogue and interest in the policy of productivity and its results, a remarkable sphere of influence is open to our organizations.
This institutional action is both structural and conjunctural — to use the economic jargon. Structurally, our organizations must make their position increasingly well-known to public opinion; they must be represented on official and unofficial committees, in party politics and everywhere where new solutions are being worked out.
Conjuncturally, they must see that they intervene at the right moment with adequate documentation and well-prepared plans. Except in certain countries where Catholic employers have set up extremely strong organizations, it must be admitted that our organizations are not in general sufficiently well-armed to be able to follow movements of opinion and current events or to intervene effectively and know-ledgeably.
The following article is an attempt by its Author to answer the following question: What are the reciprocal duties of the business executive and the State? After defining the State and pointing to the limits of State intervention, Professor Albregts indicates how government has been called to act more and more on the economic process, and what such a trend means to the business executive. He finally puts forward as a solution the "organic conception" of economic organization based on the Christian social doctrine.
Après avoir défini la nature et les problèmes du progrès, et plus précisément du progrès technique, l'auteur souligne les rapports qui existent entre le technique, l'économique, le moral et le social. Il donne enfin les conditions auxquelles les développements technologiques seront socialement rentables, indiquant, dans l'optique du chef d'entreprise, les difficultés et les modalités de l'adaptation du technique à l'humain.
Technical progress is a prerequisite of economic and social improvement. The relationship between the three fields, however, is neither automatic nor sponteneous. The ability to produce and to serve relies on techniques. Unfortunately, however, the will to produce for purposes desirable to men, and therefore the will to serve, does not rely upon technique. Production indeed derives its meaning from consumption to which it is related, and finds its rationale in the ability to satisfy an ever-increasing number of human needs.
The problem of technical and social development contains many hopes and many anxieties. Hopes to achieve an harmonious synthesis of both aspects, and anxieties over their being dangerously dissociated.
Development, in order to become an object of estimation and measure, must have a starting point and a goal. Developing means to depart from a negative point of one's being. Developing is, as well, to approximate an ideal pattern of fullness and perfection.
The intelligence of our times has parted with the universal idea of progress. The theoretical evidence of the convenience of some technical and organizational development has been met with resistances and delays in turning these innovations into industrial productive technique and social organization.
Production has its justification in the capacity to satisfy a growing number of human needs. The criterium of priority in the fulfilment of needs must be, in a larlge measure, in accordance with the natural and rational order. Production has often been unable to serve because it has not succeeded in reaching needs and following the criterium of priority. Hence a paradox: while technical development increases human ability to solve problems, it often multiplies and complicates the latter to the extent that economic and social "progress" has hardly any meaning at all.
Technical development, which in the long run determines the rate of economic progress and permits the improvement of standards of living in relation to population increases, may in the short run create serious human problems, disturbing social equilibrium. This can be evidenced particularly in underdeveloped areas of the world. Hence, the "jumping over centuries" is a perilous adventure in the field of technology, and must be checked by some form of social pressure, in order to allow mankind to reap all the fruits of the new technology without falling a prey to social disruptions of a violent nature.
In the industrial concern, the technical, the economic and the social are closely related. Technical development strongly influences industry, although it does not all and necessarily originate from it; on the other hand, industry contributes, indirectly or directly, to technological discoveries and progress. The same applies in the economic field.
Socially speaking, the business concern contributes to progress. Modern industrialized countries propose the following important criteria of "social validation": (a) a definite action on the market to favor the consumers; (b) the ability, within industry, to give all participants in the productive process a socially desirable standard of living; and (c) the ability for industry to set a system of interrelations fully respectful of human nature and needs.
For this purpose, a new, insightful, socially-minded leadership is needed.
Dans cet article, l'auteur, après un bref rappel de la doctrine pontificale sur l'association professionnelle en particulier patronale, situe l'action syndicale patronale dans le contexte Canadien-français. Il indique les difficultés auxquelles elle se heurte, la distingue de l'action syndicale ouvrière, en décrit les modalités concrètes et en définit l'inspiration.
The social doctrine of the Church on professional organization is relevant to all social classes, and collective action by employers in the social and economic fields may well be one of the foremost necessities of our times. However, Pope Pius XII could deplore, as late as 1941, the scarcity of employers' associations, and His words are still true today, although possibly to a lesser degree. Positive action by groups of employers to rebuild or perfect the economic system in such a way as to satisfy the legitimate democratic aspirations of all production agents must take the place of past policies of blind and socially explosive obstruction.
In Canada, the employers' collective action is still relatively incoherent in both concepts and organization, and far behind employees' associations in those respects. Such a lag may be explained by individualism on the part of employers, and possibly by what they thought was a lesser need for association with other employers, since, during a not so distant past, they could rely on their individual strength, backed by government, the law, police and public opinion, to tackle workers' organisations with a good amount of success.
There is a further difficulty in organizing employers, which arises from the multiplicity and complexity of their objectives, as compared to those of employee's associations. The latter deal with individuals, while the former more often than not group collective entities (the corporations represented by "management"). Furthermore managements have to face many problems beside employer-employee or union-management relations, for instance problems of a technical, financial or commercial nature. Some associations offer information and/or services to their members in these and other fields; others represent employers in dealing with government authorities and the public. Still others possess typical union characteristics and represent their members at the bargaining table. Hence the difficulty of building coherent employers' associations with such a broad array of purposes and activities.
To promote the economic, financial, legal and commercial interests of Canadian business concerns, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association is rather well organized, with provincial branches and local sections in the main cities and towns It does not bargain directly with labour unions, but puts pressure on legislators so that they take full account of the employers' viewpoints in the union-management field.
As for employers' associations involved in labour-management relations, some fifty are active in the Province of Quebec alone. They lack co-ordination, however, and are not grouped under one big association. Some industries are particularly well organized in this respect, namely building, shoe and printing. The 1934 Collective Agreement Act of Quebec has fostered the creation of a good number of employers' organizations in industry, trade and the services.
Employers' unions which are officially inspired by the social doctrine of the Church are not numerous. Covering the whole province are the Federations of School Boards, Barbers, Builders' Associations, Retailers, and so on. In the St-Hyacinthe diocese, an association of religious institutions and parish boards bargains with labour unions before signining collective agreements. In and around Quebec City, and thanks to the efforts of Bishop Charles-Omer Garant, auxiliary of Quebec, employer's trade unions gather over a thousand business concerns, in the Building Industry, in Trade, in Hospital Services, Metals, Truckers, Radio and TV Technicians, and so on.
Finally, a new type of employer organization has recently appeared in the Province of Quebec, which does no bargaining as such, but whose role it is to train and educate employers and management people. Such an employers' movement has two distinct branches: the Association professionnelle des industriel, founded in 1943, and, in the Quebec District, the Centre des industriels chrétiens. It should play an important part in training new generations of business leaders to the co-operative tasks ahead!
Après avoir observé les réactions des travailleurs en face de notre législation du travail, l'auteur signale les écarts et les ruptures qui, selon lui, existent présentement entre la réalité économico-sociale et les structures juridiques chez nous.
In the Province of Quebec, the average employee is an orderly, law-abiding citizen. He feells, however, that the legisaltive structure of industrial relations must not be rigid, definitive, but most flexible and ever mindful of the social and economic and political facts of life. He believes in a constructive evolution of labor law in which ne wants to participate democratically, through critical and realistic suggestions.
The employee agrees that our Labour Relations Act clearly recognizes the right of association among workers, and that the Labour Relations Board will grant a certificate to that union which will group the absolute majority of the employees of a given bargaining unit. But he wonders wether it would not be fairer and really more democratic — as occurs during elections in the larger society — if the results of the vote to establish a majority were calculated, not on the basis of the number of workers in the bargaining unit, but on that of the workers who have in fact voted in that bargaining unit, so that the indifferent worker be not compelled, as he now is, to silently cast his vote against the union through his own abstention. The parellelism with the larger society would be justified, according to him, by the statement that trade unions are a "must" of our industrial civilization.
The employee realizes, moreover, the weakness of his legal position when he lawfully participates in an organizational drive to introduce unionism in a business concern. The Jaw, as everyone knows, forbids dismissal for union activities. But such a form of intimidation is always hard to demonstrate, and anyway, in the case of forbidden practices the griever must seek redress in common law courts, will all accompanying delays and relatively weak sanctions against the culprit.
If, however, the union, in order to protects its members, engages into technically illegal acts, such as a premature strike, he becomes literally an "outlaw".
In the case of final and binding arbitration awards, such as they exist in the public services where striking is illegal, the union is put in the position of a plaintiff; its demands are weighed, analyzed, challenged, and then decided upon without resort. If the union comes out on top, there will be cases where the employer will refuse to abide by the award; if it loses, no redress can be sought. In the first case, the union's sole recourse, with the permission of the Board, is to sue the employer, and here starts again the long and expensive judicial fight for the practical possession of a right clearly stated in the law.
As regards the right to strike, the employee sees that it is granted, under given conditions, by our labour legislation; its practical use, however, is subject to the prescriptions of the criminal code. Such a divergence, while making for technical difficulties, puts the employee in a most awkward and uneasy position in relation to public opinion. On this matter of strikes, the labour legislator has used the timid, reserved approach, which seems to be based on a rather restrictive and repressive philosophy. In the light of this attitude, one must state firmly that labour legislation has already conquered — and must further gain — a certain amount of independance and autonomy with regard to the private body of laws, that it has its own ends and specific techniques, which way or may not be in agreement with civil law. Labor law, furthermore, is collective law. Strike, a collective phenomenon, must be judged by legislation as the same level, while individual acts committed during the strike should be judged isolatedly as such. Strike would therefore cease, in our body of laws, to be solely a juxtaposition of individual acts. This distinction is clearly made in France and other countries.
Resort to the judiciary by the employer during the strike is at best an artificial gesture, meant to exert psychological pressures on the strikers and to break their resistance.
The employee believes that the gap, the difference between the individual and the collective in matters of law as applied to union recognition and activity must be maintained and stressed, so that ambiguities with respect to the exercise of a clearly granted right finally cease to block the way to industrial harmony and industrial relations realism.
L'auteur s'efforce ici de préciser le concept de chômage frictionnel en proposant des exemples de la définition qu'il en donne, en dégageant certains des facteurs qui sont à sa source et en indiquant les possibilités de le réduire.
1.—Beside structural, cyclical and seasonal unemployment, a fourth variety must be isolated which can be called "frictional unemployment".
2.—Frictional unemployment arises from the difficulty which workers from a given "region" — within which several labour markets can be found — find in moving from one market to another. This implies that, within the region, there remain employment opportunities which are not met by unemployed persons who could take advantage of them if they just passed from one market to the other.
3.—Those unemployed, however, fail to do so for lack of information; for lack of continuousness and /or concordance in the length of the periods for which employment is offered or sought; because of the uncertainty which is inherent in mobility; due to increasingly tight regulations imposed by trade organizations; because of the complementarity of the production factors — or, in other words, because of a reduction in the possibilities for substituting some production factors for others; or, finally, because of that complex of psychological and social factors which attach workers to their trade or community.
4.—There are, however, a certain number of steps which could reduce frictional unemployment by increasing manpower mobility. Others would reduce it by tackling the mobility of other factors of production. But the cost element of resorting to one step or the other must be taken into account. For what is economically best is not always what is socially desirable. Social demands involve an economic expenditure: this, one must see clearly.
Jurisprudence du travail
Dans un jugement de la Cour Supérieure, le juge William Morin décide que la CRO n'a pas excédé sa juridiction en refusant de fournir à la Gaspe Copper Mines les noms des officiers du local de Murdochville des United Steelworkers of America ainsi qu'une copie exacte et authentiquée de tout son dossier dans cette affaire de requête en certification. Il s'appuie sur le fait que « rien dans la Loi des Relations Ouvrières n'oblige l'intimée (CRO) à l'accomplissement de formalités particulières relatives aux renseignements à donner aux intéressés lors du dépôt d'une requête en reconnaissance syndicale..., à fournir aux intéressés des copies de documents de ses dossiers personnels et encore moins les noms de personnes pouvant être mentionnées dans ces documents ».
La Commission de relations ouvrières, selon la requête syndicale, n'a pas juridiction pour révoquer un certificat de reconnaissance syndicale uniquement en raison d'un arrêt de travail (prétendu illégal). La Cour Supérieure sera appelée à décider sur ce point ainsi que sur la constitutionnalité de l'art. 24, parag. 1 et 2 de la Loi des relations ouvrières de la province de Québec, qui dit que « toute grève ou contre-grève est interdite » avant que certaines conditions soient remplies.
La Commission de relations ouvrières n'excède pas sa juridiction en accueillant une requête en reconnaissance syndicale, même si sa décision peut être erronée quant à l'apppréciation des faits sur lesquels elle s'appuie. C'est ce que décide la Cour d'Appel du Québec, à la suite de la Cour Supérieure et à l'encontre de Transport Boischatel Limitée, requérante.
Texte du sermon prononcé par Mgr Maurice Roy devant les syndiqués catholiques de la région de Québec à l'occasion de la Fête du Travail, le 2 septembre 1957, au cours d'une manifestation religieuse organisée par les Syndicats Catholiques de Québec.
Le 22 septembre 1957, S.Exc. Mgr Maurice Roy, archevêque de Québec et primat de l'Eglise canadienne, prononçait le sermon à l'occasion de la messe traditionnelle qui précède le congrès annuel de la CTCC. Il a précisé le rôle des laïques catholiques dans l'action sociale.
Si l'on tient compte du fait que les syndiqués à qui il s'adressait devaient discuter au cours de ce congrès de l'orientation de leur groupement avec des modifications de structure et même une affiliation éventuelle au CTC, les paroles du primat de l'Eglise canadienne prennent une résonance particulière. Les principes rappelés ne sont pas nouveaux, mais ils sont appliqués à un moment important dans l'évolution du mouvement ouvrier catholique de notre pays. Voilà pourquoi nous avons cru opportun de publier les principaux passages de cette allocution.
Après avoir précisé la nature de l'Eglise, corps mystique du Christ, communauté vivante dans laquelle chacun des membres a une part active dans son édification et où chacun a sa part d'initiative que rien ne saurait remplacer, S.Exc. Mgr Roy poursuit.
Recensions / Book Reviews
Britain Views Our Industrial Relations. By Mark J. Fitzgerald, c.s.c, Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1957, pp. 221.
AFL-CIO : Labor United. By Arthur J. Goldberg. New-York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1956, pp. 309. $5.00.
L'influence du syndicalisme national catholique sur le droit syndical québécois, Jean-Réal Cardin, Montréal: «Les cahiers de l'Institut social populaire », no 1, juillet 1957, pp. 78. $1.25.
Labour Arbitration Procedures. By C. H. Curtis. Kingston. Ont.: Department of Industrial Relations, Queen's University, 1957, pp. 90.
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