Après avoir défini ce qu'il entend par négociation sectorielle, l'auteur admet que la négociation par établissement ne suffit plus à la tâche. C'est pourquoi il considère la négociation sectorielle comme étant fort désirable malgré un certain nombre de difficultés. Il conclut que le succès ou l'échec des négociations sectorielles tiennent bien moins aux structures légales qu'à la bonne foi des parties.
Ever mindful of the changes our society is undergoing, and with a view to improving the relations existing between the parties involved in the negotiation of collective agreements, as well as those existing between the sub-system of labour relations and the entire socio-economic system, the State would like to know whether negotiation for a given sector of production, an industry as a whole, throughout a particular region or even throughout the whole province, would not be the proper solution to the problem at hand.
On the other hand, if we consult the parties involved in the negotiation of a collective agreement, we find that they are actually questioning the validity of the present industrial relations system.
Thus, for some time already, certain labour representatives such as the Québec Federation of Labour have been preconizing, for Québec, the carrying out of collective bargaining of a broader type. The same holds true for the Canadian Labour Congress, which, in the very words of some of its most authoritative representatives, acknowledges that Canadian trade-unionism will eventually have to broaden its negotiation policies in order to cope with the imperatives of an increasingly concerted economy.
As to management, its reaction to the idea of negotiation for industrial sectors seems more negative.
Finally, various labour experts in universities, the civil service and labour and management associations are also questioning the validity of the present labour relations system. Among other changes, they preconize the establishment of increasingly broader negotiation systems. Besides, such a tendency can also be noticed in the public sector as well as in certain highly concentrated sectors. However, these very same experts point out that such a broadened negotiation system has certain disadvantages as well as certain definite advantages.
Faced with such general trends, such questions, and such arguments, favouring or against negotiation on a higher level, the State must now proceed to examine, as objectively and as fully as possible, the advantages and disadvantages likely to issue from the broadening of the scope of negotiations, and to appraise the favourable and unfavourable conditions surrounding the implementing of such a plan.
It is important, at the very outset, to define the bargaining level.
This concept may be considered from two distinct points of view :
— the formal level of collective bargaining : that of the official hierarchic position of the negotiators of each party as also that of the juridical status of the institutions the latter represent at the bargaining table;
— the true level of collective bargaining : that which is mostly given by the extent of the scope of one or more of the main clauses of either one or several collective agreements.
In practice however, various bargaining levels interweave and entangle, and therefore formal and true levels of collective bargaining don't coincide. Usually, the basis of the formal level of negotiation is the enterprise or the establishment considered as a unit. It is to this level that the legal mechanisms governing accreditation, certification, negotiation, the enforcement of the agreement, conciliation and the development of labour disputes usually refer.
The formal level of collective bargaining has risen, to a certain extent, because of the organization of industrial unions and trade unions, as well as of the existence of large undertakings having several establishments and also because of the presence of more extensive labour and management groups. Indeed, representation of the parties by negotiators belonging to institutions that were larger than the bargaining unit brought about considerations of a higher level than that on which the labour agreement was signed. However, in the private sector of our economy, the industrial relations system that we have is characterized by the absence of true negotiation covering industries on a national, provincial or regional level.
The true level of negotiations is determined by the combined influence of several institutional and economic factors which contribute to a reduction of the differences in wage rates and to greater similarity in content of the collective agreements negotiated for the various bargaining units in an industry or a sector of activity. Indeed, the bargaining level depends not only on the formalities existing between employers and trade-unions in an industry, but also on the differences between the results of each negotiation. It is important to know these differences in results, because it might prove as difficult to lessen the differences between the contents of collective agreements — (which goes and in hand with the broadening of negotiations) — as to create the very mechanisms that will broaden the scope of negotiation.
Various phenomena may promote the widening of the scope of collective bargaining. Three principal types of such phenomena lead to bargaining for a production sector.
(a) The unionization rate in an industrial sector rises, and the trade unions enjoying the best strategic position within the sector tend to structure the bargaining mechanisms in such a way as to ensure, and then to preserve, a certain standardization of wages and working conditions in such sector or in a part of such sector. The same holds true as concerns the very application and interpretation of the collective agreement. This standardization of working conditions and of the procedures for the negotiation and application of the latter can better be achieved at the sector level, at least within the geographic area of the sector involved.
(b) The employers have to face a union or a coalition of unions whose bargaining power seems greater than their own; the only means of opposing worthwhile résistance is to form a common front for the negotiation of the collective agreement. This case occured in the past in certain sectors including many small production units vigourously competing with one another, such as, services, retail trade, clothing, printing and, up to the adoption of Bill 290, the Construction Industry. Those are exactly the sectors in which our Québec decrees apply.
(c) In certain industries, generally oligopolistic ones such as the steel, automobile, meatpacking, oil and chemical products, pulp and paper and other industries of that type, we note an increasing trend amongst large enterprises towards the adoption of certain forms of coordination in collective agreement negotiation and application practices, certain more or less official exchanges in matters of information and consultation, though the formal practice of negotiating at the enterprise unit level continues to be observed.
The term « sector » means a sector of production and corresponds to at least one branch of activity such as : shoes, textiles. It is used here as opposed to the terms « establishment » and « enterprise » or « undertaking » which refer to the smallest physical unit of production.
Why should one wish or not wish to negotiate at a higher level ? Let us first weigh the arguments of the promoters of a type of negotiation most often referred to as sectorial. In order to have as complete an idea as possible of the subject, we shall also examine the arguments brought forth against any rise in level of negotiations, the arguments of the supporters of the status quo.
The promoters' arguments
(1) Collective bargaining at a higher level rises the discussion from the local level to a higher level for both management and the trade-unions, thus rendering more objective the approach to labour problems such as rationalization, definition of tasks, wage rate structures, personnel direction procedures, productivity standards and various other conditions of employment and of admission to work. The high degree of liability to emotion which is present at the local level is greatly lowered in negotiation at a higher level since bargaining is carried on between more competent and better informed persons.
(2) Negotiation carried out at a higher level is more apt to contribute to the establishment of general policies than the present system of negotiations on the establishment or enterprise unit level. Indeed, it will be much easier for the parties to measure to overall effect off the changes in labour contracts and for the government to influence the results of negotiations so that the latter may be compatible with community policies and general objectives.
(3) Negotiation at a higher level has the advantage of simplifying the problem issuing from non-unionization.
(4) Negotiation at a higher level broadens the problems that may require negotiation.
(5) Technological change, which very often affects a whole industrial sector renders it necessary to negotiate at a higher level.
(6) Negotiation of this type will promote the increase of union membership.
Arguments of those favouring a status quo
On the other hand, it seems that negotiation at a higher level implies certain disadvantages.
(1) Negotiation at a higher level reduces competition, which is the very basis of an economy founded on free enterprise and the primacy of decisions, since man-power costs are the same for all employers in a given sector.
(2) Negotiating at a higher level will establish certain trends towards monopolistic or oligopolistic situations and, therefore, towards excessive rigidness and uniformity in wages and incomes.
(3) Negotiation at a higher level also leads to increased intervention in economic matters on the part of public authorities.
(4) Such new type of negotiation may also result in an aggravation of labour disputes although a drop in the number of strikes would be most likely. Moreover, as a greater number of indivuals would be involved, such a situation would afford the State an additional pretext to intervene and coerce the parties into settling their disputes.
(5) Such a new collective bargaining system would prevent the particular circumstances of individual understaking from being adequately taken into account.
(6) Collective bargaining at a higher level may cause trade unions to have to cope with certain extra problems ; for instance, it may prevent the individual needs of local unions from being sufficiently taken into account.
THE LEVEL OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
After having explored the various possible courses of action, one must make his choice. It is an established fact that the collective agreement negotiated for a sole establishment is no longer equal to the task. Its scope is too restricted to allow all difficulties to be solved and to counteract all the insecurities of the modem worker. Both economically and socially it is too isolated to favour the participation and concertation that our society requires for its development. It is probably very unjust toward employees as a whole, since it serves only a minority of workers.
These three serious shortcomings of the only labour relations mechanism actually in use require that the system be made more flexible and that it be completed by wider collective bargaining at levels higher. than the enterprise.
By the words « be made more flexible » I mean that the general system of collective bargaining would leave the parties free to choose the level at which they would carry out negotiations.
Theoretically, such level could either be all industries, a production sector or an undertaking. Personally, I am convinced that collective bargaining for industries taken as a whole could not deal with actual wage rates and conditions directly affecting wages. Such a bargaining level is used to determine the minimums to be imposed as dependent variables of the vital needs of the individual and his family. In my opinion, it cannot be a true level for collective bargaining, since the presence of the State is preponderant and since general considerations of all kinds prevent the principal partners, employers and workers, from reaching agreement on working conditions consistent with the market.
Therefore, the remaining recourse would be to widen traditional collective bargaining so that negotiations may cover entire sectors of production. Employer-employee agreement at this new level really offers a second usable solution.
However, such a solution must not be imposed. Indeed, for economic and even sociological reasons, certain sectors of production are not yet ready for sectorial collective bargaining. Wherever large undertakings are concentrated on a single labour market and wherever large undertakings are concealed on the other regional markets, sectorial collective bargaining may prove detrimental to small undertakings. Moreover, certain sectors have efficiently adapted a private collective agreement to their particular needs by means of the presence of an indisputable leader and widespread unionization. This is particularly true of the basic manufacturing industry. As to these sectors, at least, it would be a pity to forcibly institute a new collective bargaining mechanism.
However, in other sectors, principally in public utilities and wherever the State is either directly or indirectly an important employer, collective bargaining extended to cover entire sectors of activities is already a reality.
In short a mistake of the past must be avoided, that is, the fact of imposing on everyone a collective bargaining mechanism without making the basic distinctions required by the very character of the industrial sectors involved. It belongs to the parties in presence, both employer and employee associations, to choose the type of collective bargaining they wish to have. It is in this manner only that the system will acquire the desired flexibility. However, such choice must be made within the limits of pre-determined professional and geographical jurisdictions, so that erratic jurisdictions may be avoided.
By a more complete system, naturally, I mean one to which would be added an adequate legal framework permitting collective bargaining for an entire sector of activity. To my mind, it is not a question of adding two bargaining levels, one corresponding to the enterprise and the other one to the sector, but to enable a choice to be made between a limited framework for negotiations, which framework would be adapted to the undertaking or the private collective agreement, and between a broadened framework adapted to the sector or to sectorial collective agreements. When the workers will have pronounced themselves in favour of sectorial collective bargaining, it will no longer be possible to negotiate private collective agreements.
The broadening of the scope of collective bargaining will make agreements between employers and employees more complete, as it will make it possible to include clauses abolishing the present limits of the definition of working conditions. Working conditions will acquire a meaning of general organization of the security of the workers and even of the viability of the enterprises concerned. The sectorial collective agreement may include clauses bearing on technological change, the employees' right to be informed on the important financial and administrative decisions of the enterprise, the professional improvement of workers, job security etc.
As we all know, at the present time it is difficult to insert clauses of this type in private collective agreements because the enterprise that accepts them thereby becomes a dangerous exception for its competitors. Far from constituting economic risks, such questions, when drawn up at the production sector level, are the remedy to numerous dissatisfactions and will contribute to the settlement of many actual disputes.
Three basic reasons have led me to consider sectorial collective bargaining as most desirable :
1. This type of bargaining renders unions more responsible for and aware of the economic context ;
2. This type of bargaining enables the establishment of a bond between the economic partners and the man-power policy ;
3. This type of bargaining is the only one capable of involving the workers who are not unionized at the present moment.
I shall briefly explain each of these reasons by dealing with them in the same order as just mentioned.
The unions will be more responsible when they will represent all the workers in a sector of activity. Then, it will be more difficult for them to ignore the employers' arguments concerning profitability, and they will no longer be able to confine their activities to the most prosperous undertakings and exact higher wages without taking into account the differences in that their demands create within the same sector of activity. As representative of all workers having similar activities, the trade-union shall have to take into account the position of the worker having the weakest bargaining power just as well as that of the worger having the largest bargaining power margin. In such a case, the action of the trade-union will be guided by the most general considerations. Moreover, since the sector of activity will be taken as a whole, in its revendication policy the workers' association will have to take into consideration elements of an economic nature such as the labour market, the trading market and the profitability of undertakings.
Negotiations will cease to be a struggle which often took on the appearance of a « personality » conflict between an employer representative and an employee representative ; they will be at the level of both parties' participation in ensuring their mutual cooperation.
The link to be established between manpower policies and collective agreements is a necessary condition for job security. Public measures alone cannot satisfactorily meet all the requirements and conform with all the circumstances of the employment situation in each sector of activity. The sectorial context must be followed to a greater extent. In addition, a share of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the parties themselves. Local collective agreements cannot initiate measures that exceed the possibilities of undertakings, a fact which forces the parties to neglect several instruments of job security. If collective bargaining were carried out at the level of the sector of activity, such instruments, which mainly come under agreements between labour and management, would be possible, since all enter-prises would be covered thereby. Consequently, this would afford us better means of bringing general and public measures closer to the sectorial context and. of truly meeting the needs of the workers in a given sector. Hence, in view of the foregoing evidence, we must favour the broadening of collective bargaining, while taking due account of the obligation that the Department has placed upon itself in matters of job security and stabilization of the labour market.
Finally, representation of non-unionized workers gives rise to a social problem of the greatest importance. If 70% of all workers continue to be deprived of the advantages of all mechanisms of representation and official trade-unionism, recourse will be had to other means of expression that will affect social order to a greater extent. It is imperative that public administrators as well as partners in the labour world bring about the integration of non-unionized workers in the representation and collective bargaining system. Now, legislation which recognizes only collective bargaining for the enterprise will never meet the needs of all workers. Unavoidably, the workers in small undertakings, workers in non-accessible regions, workers with little professional competency will be foresaken because they represent too great a financial burden for the unions. Therefore, the solution consists in rejoining the non-unionized workers and enlarging the foundations of trade-unionism.
When collective bargaining is carried out on a sectorial basis, bargaining power is compensated : the workers enjoying the most advantages will share their position on the labour market with those enjoying the least advantages. Thus, all workers become equal within the same association and obtain a normal channel of expression. Hence, the non-unionized will not be inclined to seek the help of representative organisms other than those recognized by labour relations laws. In this sense, sectorial collective bargaining is an element of social order as well as of justice.
The fact of opting for sectorial collective bargaining with all the flexibility required by two coexisting labour relations systems does not necessarily imply that doing so is quite easy. On the contrary, there are many pre-requisites to be dealt with. I shall now point out a few of the most difficult conditions to be met.
THE DIFFICULTÉS OF SECTORIAL BARGAINING
Collective bargaining by sector of production will not be achieved as readily in Québec as in the remainder of North America.
Far from stemming from current principles in labour relations, it will require wide ranging changes, on the one hand, in the attitudes of all parties involved in collective bargaining, namely : the labour movement, employers and officers of the Department, and, on the other hand, changes in the legal framework.
These changes, born within a renewed approach, bear a measure of grave risks.
Indeed, it is a matter of adopting a formula before having acquired sufficient experience of it to know the answers to the problems issuing from collective bargaining at a wider level. However, since collective bargaining by sector of production should be viewed both as a betterment of the present system and as a quest for a better balance between the partners, there is a price to pay. That price is the endorsing of a new set of rules for collective bargaining.
Let us first appraise the expected consequences on the attitude and structures of the labour movement.
Representation of the workers
In considering the feasibility of widened bargaining, the first question which comes to mind deals with the mechanics of the representation of the workers. Indeed, we are familiar with the kind of representation involving a sole bargaining agent within the framework of the traditional bargaining unit : the enterprise. In accordance with the Labour Relations Act, workers in Québec have been represented by sole bargaining agents since 1944.
European workers, on the contrary, may join a number of labour unions and be represented by them even at the company level. We adopted the american system in order to avoid interunion disputes : the union with a majority of the workers within its ranks is their sole bargaining agent.
This is the simple underlying concepts of all british inspired democracy. It meets with century old traditions, with the very way of thinking on this continent and with social values which constitute the foundations of our large institutions.
I believe this concept of a sole bargaining agent for a bargaining unit has proven successful. The laws stemming from this principle forstered a measure of order in labour relations : notices for bargaining, periods for bargaining, the introduction of conciliation and mediation steps, strike procedure, the identification of the workers' bargaining agent. If we are concerned today with the shortcomings of our present industrial relations system, it is far more as concerns the size of the bargaining unit than as to the type of representation provided for the workers. The answer then lies in broadening the bargaining area without departing from the concept of a sole union representative for the workers of a barganing unit encompassing a sector of production.
There will certainly remain proponents of a union cartel, that is to say the grouping of the various unions already engaged in a sector around a single bargaining table for the purpose of negotiating a single collective agreement for that sector of production. This will cause the existence of a boundary between representation and negotiation ; regarding workers' representation, we maintain the status quo, whereas for negotiation a single union committee may be set up. In my opinion, this is quite dangerous, to say the least : indeed, by seeking to reconcile the various interests within the cartel, we may jeopardize any agreement with the employer. A new concept for our system of representation is the prerequisite of an enlarged bargaining area. Workers choose representatives for the very purpose of negotiating their working conditions. There should be no boundary between workers' representation and negotiation.
I do not believe the right to freedom of association should be construed to justify the preserving of company wide certification and to coerce this cartel of unions into bargaining for a sector of production. If this freedom of association truly raises a matter of principle, in the case of employers there is a serious problem at hand. Indeed, the union monopoly has been imposed upon employers for a long time, and no one ever felt it was an infringement of the right of association. Broadening the bargaining unit does not alter the principle : a single union for a single bargaining unit. Our way of enforcing the right to freedom of association is to base the authority of union representatives on a majority of the workers and to provide by law for periods during which one may change his membership. The fundamental reason for single union representation follows the very character of labour relations. Collective bargaining is primarily a number of compromises between workers and employers, and these compromises are arrived at more easily if we can avoid conflicts of interest amongst a number of unions facing a single group of employers.
Unity of representation requires unity in both attitude and undertaking. We should not lose sight of this stabilizing component of our system.
You may think I readily dismiss the notion of a cartel for the purpose of collective bargaining, while it is the rule of law, in Québec, for the construction industry. Furthermore, a cartel of labour unions was always possible under the Collective Agreement Decrees Act, and was indeed operating in some sectors of production, namely, the printing and shoe manufacturing industries.
Sometimes, a cartel is the only answer, but by no means the best answer. As a matter of fact, following our experience with the construction industry, we may say that a number of problems stemmed directly from the cartel of unions.
With the emergence of a new system of bargaining for a sector of production, it is important to seek realistic unionization of the workers, and thus avoid the situation that prevailed in the past in the construction industry by reason of inter-union disputes.
The single bargaining unit for all the workers of a given sector of production shall create problems for the present workers' unions. The structures of these unions were designed to meet the requirements of certification at the company level. So it is that the federation or union is composed of locals from many establishments in a given sector of production without covering all the establishments in that sector. Thus, also, the powers of the federation or union derived from bodies tailored to the establishments, and decisions are arrived at by a majority of the locals, and not by a majority of the workers. So it is that the workers from the larger establishments retain leadership in the adoption pf the federation's or union's policies.
To broaden the bargaining unit to the limits of a sector of production, to remove representation of the workers from the confines of the establishment, to consider all workers in a sector of production as members of a sole bargaining unit, is to put many locals out of existence. Indeed, the federation or union, and even the parent-organization, may have to struggle vigourously to survive. Unity of representation means that all workers for whom bargaining in a sector of production is carried out, whether they be unionized or not, are enabled to vote for the representative union of their choice. Individual locals will die out to the last ; only one of the federations or unions in presence will survive. As to any parent organization which is ousted from several sectors of production, its life span may be quickly shortened.
Apart from the serious risks involved for the unions already in place, there are still problems for the selected union. The latter rapidly grows in membership, or at least it may collect dues from all the workers within its sector of production. But it loses its foundations in local establishments while at the same time it inherits the responsibility of equally representing all workers in the sector of production involved.
In saying « all workers », I especially refer to those who, from a union standpoint, are actually considered a liability. Members who wield tremendous bargaining power under the present circumstances, because of the very nature and size of the establishment employing them, will, in future, carry no more weight than any other worker in their sector. The union certified for that sector will have to press for working conditions applicable to all establishments in it.
In short, present union structures will have to be entirely reshaped, if we are to obtain efficient sectorial representation. This is the main consequence resulting from the adoption of this new labour relations system. The sooner the unions accept to operate in a sectorial context, the better will be their prospects of survival. Besides, unions have no alternative ; they must ready them selves for broadened bargaining units. Such bargaining units are already a reality for many workers. Present union structures may delay the implementation of a system of sectorial negotiation and even bring about needless disputes, but, some day, this kind of negotiation, warranted by modem contingencies, will be the only answer, and unions failing to adapt to them will have to make way for more adequate groups.
In this respect, the cartel formula is but a dilatory measure which, to no avail, prolongs the transitional period and its concomitant painful operations.
I, for one, do not hesitate to take such a step into the future. The broadening of the scope of collective bargaining is urgently needed. While, on the one hand, sectorial negotiation increases the power of labour associations, on the other, it renders them responsible for all the workers in a sector as well as for that: sector's profit-earning capacity. And, this element of responsibility is absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of social engagement alongside economic planning.
These new types of collective bargaining will also greatly affect the « employer party ». Therefore, let us now examine one of their main effects on the structure of such party.
Structure of the employer party
To face organized labour and collective bargaining, Québec employers, in the past few years, have made serious attempts at working out a common policy. However, one must admit that those endeavours have proved more or less fruitful. Not because of a lack of employers' associations, far from it. A survey that was carried out several years ago revealed the existence of nearly 500 employers' associations in the province of Québec alone. If a new inventory were taken, a fair number of new associations would have to be added to that figure. The main impediment to efficient structuring of the employer party is the latter's lack of the discipline required to achieve a common policy. Subject to the competitive forces of the market, employers are in the habit of organizing their production resources without anyone's help. This is also true of their dealings with their employees. Even in spheres of activity already having some experience in sectorial bargaining, at least at the regional level as in the construction industry, it is very difficult to achieve unity amongst employers. Each one's sole concern is to settle his own urgent problems.
In the public and para-public sectors such as Education, Health and Welfare, where the State, by its very presence, serves as catalyst to unite the employing bodies, employers have yet to achieve cohesion in their midst. With disconcerting perseverance, local employers hold out against structural changes that would give the employer party a single voice. For the sake of autonomous management and for the sake of that sort of pride connected with management responsibilities, employers, whether of the management of private ownership types, feel reluctant to adopt a rigid 'framework and delegate to an association the responsibility for collective bargaining and for the administration of the collective agreement.
Still, sectorial collective bargaining requires employers to be united. Indeed, one must understand the very essence of this new bargaining system : labour-management relations are brought to the level of the sector of production in a given geographic territory. This implies that individual employers, local bodies, no longer determine the working conditions of their employees. Aside from the day-to-day administration of their collective agreement, these individual employers must leave all negotiations with their employees to the care of their association. As to their working conditions, the workers are in exactly the same situation, regardless of the establishment for which they work. If employers fail to give a complete mandate to their representative association, and if they go on insisting that they be the only ones to conclude agreements with their workers, how are they to achieve an adequate management strategy within the bounds of their sector of production?
Although it is an essential component of sectorial bargaining, the delegation of powers is surely far from being implemented. Employers must not only acknowledge the labour movement — such acknowledgement is not yet complete, even 100 years after the birth of unions as we know them today — but furthermore, they must refer to an association all matters pertaining to these unions. In other words, an individual employer will no longer exercise absolute control over his labour costs, and his use of human resources shall be governed by terms determined at a higher level. True, some employers, among the largest, will retain a voice of paramount importance in the formulation of management policies. But these employers will have to take into account the repercussions, on smaller employers, of the concessions they grant in order to attract the most highly qualified workers. It will be somewhat more difficult to create available manpower reserves for oneself. On the other hand, small employers will have to tailor their production to meet the competition of larger employers, while granting their workers equal rates of pay. Collective bargaining for a sector of production will then help employers to compete in realms other than labour and working conditions. But prior to that, employers must agree to realign their action in this field.
Besides requiring that employers accept this discipline, sectorial collective bargaining will also demand that they change their behaviour completely. Individual employers are in the habit of holding out against the demands of the workers. They wait until demands are submitted, and there follows hard bargaining about the minimums agreeable to the union. Their objective is to keep on producing and, at the same time, to limit any rises in manpower costs.
Sectorial collective bargaining belongs to another context. Indeed, in sectorial bargaining, the workers are more like partners than mere production resources, since the purpose to be achieved is the establishing of working conditions for an entire sector of acticity while taking due account of human needs and the sector's economic possibilities. Thus, the employer party's attitude takes on a more positive and more engaging aspect. In sectorial collective bargaining, the main concern of the employer's bargaining association is neither the financial situation of any firm in particular nor any definite difficulty in marketing. It goes without saying, however, that although its concerns remain above such immediate problems, the association is fully aware of the sector's general problems and each of its members' cares. Then, because of the openness of the employer party's reaction to the workers' demands, negotiations will prove more constructive.
Furthermore, the necessary change of behaviour will follow in the wake of the new collective bargaining technique, if the latter is accepted in good faith. Agreeing to maintain discipline in their very ranks, while fully delegating their authority in matters pertaining to the fixing of working conditions, constitutes a radical change of attitude on the part of the employers, since it amounts to the very opposite of the tactics they have been using for so many years.
Adjustment to broadened collective bargaining is also necessary for civil servants in the Department of Labour and Manpower.
The role of the conciliator
Because of far-reaching changes in the attitudes of workers' and employers' associations and because of the content of collective agreements covering an entire sector, the Department of Labour and Manpower can no longer continue to proceed in the same way where labour relations are concerned.
We have already seen that one of the important reasons militating in favour of bargaining by sectors was the need to expand collective agreements so that they would cover manpower problems. Job security, adaptation to technological and administrative change, the permanence of the careers for which workers are trained are all problems which require solutions on a sectorial level. Without jeopardizing its own chances of success, no single enterprise can supply full guarantees of job security to its workers. To do this, there must be agreements covering all employers in a given field of production. Then the principle of collective responsibility can be applied, and the risks which, in recent years, have threatened job security can be met without dangerously affecting financial stability. Indeed, this type of solution is far from being novel, since it has been used for many years in the field of workmen's compensation.
Sectorial agreements are necessary to cover the whole range of working conditions that constitute the workers' lot. Support from the Department of Labour and Manpower through legislative measures and retraining allowances cannot, alone, meet the workers' needs with regard to job security. The law is too general to adjust itself directly to varying needs, and public financial assistance cannot be so inclusive as to fully free the employer of his responsibility, the responsibility of the immediate consumer of the wage earner's labour.
As soon as sectorial bargaining enters manpower policy areas, and as soon as it attempts to reach appropriate solutions, the Department of Labour and Manpower is directly implicated. In short, manpower is a single entity, a single resource which must be allocated to the various activity sectors in such a way as to make the best use of individual talents and with proper regard for keeping the various labour markets in balance. In addition to this allocation of workers, people must be given an opportunity to acquire the competence required by the various activity sectors. This vocational preparation of workers is a matter of many years, and is a public responsibility. Measures appropriate to a sector naturally lead to the necessity for general manpower policies.
There can be no solution limited to a single sector of activity. If manpower and employment security measures must correspond to conditions in an activity sector, none the less, they must be integrated into general policies on vocationaltraining and maintaining the balance between labour markets. In this sense, theDepartment of Labour and Manpower would, to a certain extent, be a partner in sector-wide negotiations. For it would be the link between measures appropriate to a given activity sector and general policies.
We can more readily envisage state participation by reason of manpower problems, still, for quite different reasons, it is necessary for the Department to be present at the bargaining table even when private enterprises only are concerned. These reasons relate to the salary structure, working hours and fringe benefits. When negotiations involve only one business at a time, the economic and social impact of the working conditions on which agreement is reached is generally of minor importance. But in the case of sectorial negotiations, and considering the State's responsibilities with regard to economic development, these repercussions are no longer incidental. They can be tragic. The Department of Labour and Manpower cannot forfeit its duty to speak for the State as the general organizer of economic activity. Hence it is preparing to fulfil this duty.
The presence of a third party at the bargaining table will certainly have major effects on the attitude of workers' and employer's associations, but it will also have a serious impact on the part played by the conciliator. Until now, the only thing the conciliator sought was the suitable compromise possible between the workers' demands and the employer's opposition to them. Tomorrow, the conciliator will have to give due attention to the nature of this compromise. Workers and employers will no longer be able to agree on any terms they like. The conciliator will be there to indicate the bounds imposed by legislation with regard to working conditions and manpower policies, and make clear the possible lines along which agreement may be reached.
It is certainly necessary to avoid too rigid a formula, too great authority for the State as party to the negotiations, so as to assure the major participants — workers and employers — their rightful position in bargaining for their activity sector. Yet it is equally necessary to supply mediation, guidance and coordination services within the limits of labour and manpower policies. This balance between the State and the socio-economic partners is far from being easy to ensure. The only thing we know is what we must aim to achieve ; still, we have no idea of how we may attain this goal. One thing is certain : the new context will be just as exacting with the Department of Labour and Manpower as with labour's and managements associations.
The legal framework
Obviously, the legal framework must be modified in such a manner as to make sectorial bargaining possible. This implies certain amendments to sections governing certification and the right of association as well as the drawing up of new provisions which would define sectors of activity and bargaining areas. Bargaining areas must be interpreted as referring to professional units within the same sector of activity. Maintaining a distinctive identity between large occupational groups is important in order to avoid finding within the same union the whole range of workers, from clerks to managers. Bargaining areas are the very professional groups that cause different unions to operate within the same sector of activity.
Namely, they are termed : ordinary workers, technicians, professionals and executives. The last named category does not indicate our policy of regrouping fonctions : it only illustrates bargaining areas to be considered under the new system.
Today, I would like to spotlight three types of legal changes required by broadened collective bargaining, changes which, in a way, constitute new labour law.
The first step involves making the Labour Code quite clear wherever the two bargaining levels are concerned, the enterprise level and the sector level, so that they will not oppose each other but easily coexist in harmony. Hence the need for enough flexibility for the parties to easily choose the negotiating levels they wish. As we hâve already said, one cannot back two teams at the same time, that is, negotiate at both levels at the same time. Therefore, adequate provision must be made to ensure that such choice may really reflect the will of the majority of the workers, even before negotiations begin.
In this connection, we must keep in mind the example of what happened in England where the simultaneous existence of two negotiation systems gave rise to many difficulties : the first, the formal level, where minimum working conditions were mostly established through sectorial bargaining, and the second, the informal level, where market working conditions were negotiated. Since we are imposing neither of these systems, we may hope that the mechanism chosen will be the one that will best meet the needs of the workers concerned and that equality of the systems may be thereby avoided. Of course, the purpose of sectorial collective bargaining is to establish actual wage rates.
The second type of changes, involving new clauses, has to do with a very delicate question, that of the rights of the members within their association. The « Woods » report has already discussed the matter at length. I know very well that workers' associations are loath to let the law, hence the government, have the privilege to interfere in their internal management. The idea of provinding for the rights of the members does not, in any way, stem from the wish to exercice control over workers' associations, but rather to guarantee rights to all workers within such associations.
Sectorial collective bargaining, and mainly the monopoly of representation, will strongly encourage all the workers in a given sector of production to belong to a single union. It is a requisite that this union show respect for democratic rules and the rights of its members. Hence this idea of a statement on the rights of the members, such as the freedom of expression, the right to be heard in cases of disciplinary action, the right to be candidates, the right to be elected to» executive posts. What's more, members must have the privilege of being able to appeal to the courts to have these rights respected. We have already set up a special court which may prove extremely useful in this kind of situation : the Labour Court.
I wish to urge labour unions to consider the necessity of having the law recognize the workers' rights even within their own associations, in the same spirit these same unions seek to obtain official assurances concerning the rights of individuals in society and the rights of workers within the private enterprise system. It is not by using two kinds of logic, one for the labour union and the other for the rest of society, that workers' association will prove they are reliable socialpartners. My concern is not control over decisions by labour unions, but to avoid that the representation unit become a manpower monopoly primarily detrimental to the interests of the workers themselves.
The third type of provision to be considered deals with the right to strike. Sectorial bargaining is much more likely to question the public interest than is bargaining at the enterprise level. With regard to labour relations, we are witnessing the reorientation of the exercice of the right to strike in those areas affecting the public interest. We cannot ignore this aspect of sectorial bargaining. There is no question of abolishing the right to strike. On the contrary, from certain points of view it is rather a question of doing away with certain present delaying factors such as compulsory conciliation and cooling-off periods before negotiations. Bill 290 already grants the right to strike when a decree expires. The same thing can apply for sectorial collective agreements. Moreover, we may wonder whether conciliatory intervention would not be more effective if it were not mandatory.
On the other hand, the public increasingly demands that it be forewarned of strikes that seriously demands that it be forewarned of strikes that seriously affect it. The question which now arises is whether or not we should adopt, for sectorial bargaining, the device set forth in section 99 of the Québec Labour Code. Such device tempers the right to strike in public utilities by imposing the serving of an eight-day notice and by allowing a factual inquiry and up to 80 days' postponement of the strike by means of an injunction.
There is also reason to consider the timeliness of requiring, in certain strickly public fields, that agreements on the operation of essential services be reached before entitlement to the exercice of the right to strike is acquired.
As yet, on this question of strikes, as on that of members' rights, the Department of Labour and Manpower has no definite opinion. It knows, however, that all the provisions governing labour relations must be rethought in the light of this new operational structure. Labour relations for a single enterprise cannot correspond to labour relations for a whole sector.
I don't think that requiring this preliminary condition will deny anyone his rights. In drawing up these new provisions, the steps already taken to safeguard the workers' rights will not be put aside. However, to perform useful work, it is imperative that our application of the basic principles of labour law be re-examined, since the very elements of the system are changing. The success or failure of sectorial bargaining depends far less on the legal framework of the system than on the good faith of the parties involved. Besides, such is and always will be the fundamental principle of any labour relations system, just as it is the very basis of the one we have now.
Bryan M. Downie
The author is concerned with bi-national bargaining which entails the delegation of decision-making power from Canada to the United States either through adherence to a U.S. pattern or standard and/or through the actual delegation of decision-making power in collective bargaining to U.S. officials. This paper attempts to take an initial step in the direction of increasing our understanding of what generates bi-national arrangements, what tactics and strategies are involved, and the implications.
Le but de cet article est d'examiner la négociation bi-nationale impliquant une délégation de prise de décision vers les États-Unis, soit en suivant les normes américaines, soit en déléguant effectivement la prise de décision à des cadres américains. C'est au moyen d'études de cas que nous avons précédemment complétées que nous tenterons de découvrir les sources, les tactiques, les stratégies et les implications des conventions bi-nationales.
RÉSUMÉ DES CONCLUSIONS DEJA PRESENTEES
L'allure générale des influences
Il semble qu'on ne puisse faire aucune généralisation quant à la nature des influences sur les négociations bi-nationales. Bien au contraire, on s'aperçoit qu'en pratique il en existe plusieurs sortes. Nous pouvons cependant dire que les relations canada-américaines en négociation collective semblent fortes dans les industries du papier et de l'automobile (après 1956), relativement fortes dans les industries de l'acier et du fer et extrêmement faibles dans l'industrie des viandes.
Le rôle des différentes parties à la négociation
Il semble que les employeurs aient contribué autant que les syndicats à implanter l'usage des « patterns » en négociation collective. L'exemple bien connu des industries du papier et de l'automobile illustrent clairement ce point de vue. L'échange d'information et l'acceptation de politiques bi-nationales de relations industrielles surtout par les grandes compagnies organisées par des syndicats internationaux sont une cause certaine de cette acceptation par plusieurs de « patterns » bi-nationaux en négociation collective.
Les syndicats internationaux de leur côté, diffèrent quelque peu principalement par la façon dont leurs demandes sont formulées et par les pratiques utilisées en négociation collective : soit que les demandes sont formulées à l'intérieur de chacun des syndicats à l'occasion de conférences individuelles tenues au Canada, soit que des négociateurs américains participent aux négociations canadiennes surtout dans le cas de firmes exportant substantiellement aux États-Unis, soit que les syndicats canadiens préfèrent négocier avec la direction américaine lorsque les politiques de relations industrielles sont définies aux États-Unis. Une autre caractéristique de la politique syndicale vis-à-vis les « patterns » bi-nationaux serait une certaine flexibilitéet capacité de compromis vis-à-vis les standards américains pré-établis. Souvent les officiers syndicaux ont ici une influence modératrice.
Finalement on peut noter l'influence gouvernementale sur les « patterns » internationaux de deux façons différentes : soit par le contrôle des salaires pendant la dernière guerre, soit par la conciliation obligatoire, surtout dans les industries de l'acier, de l'automobile et des viandes (jusqu'à 1956). Ces deux éléments de politique du travail ont rendu plus difficile la coordination parfaite avec les négociations américaines.
LE CONTENU ET LA NATURE DES NÉGOCIATIONS
Une des conséquences de la négociation bi-nationale semble être l'inscription aux négociations de plusieurs points qui seraient autrement sous-estimés ou complètement ignorés (v.g. certains avantages sociaux). Ces nouveaux sujets de négociation et le simple fait qu'on traite en des termes bi-nationaux ont grandement affecté la coordination (timing) des négociations et les dates d'expiration des conventions. La participation de négociateurs américains des deux côtés de la table de négociation ajoutent une caractéristique à ce genre de négociation.
Quant à la longueur des négociations et aux activités de grève, il semble que l'on puisse noter deux caractéristiques : de longues négociations en l'absence de « pattern » américain à suivre et un plus grand nombre de grèves sur des points qui ne sont pas sujets aux « patterns ».
Il semble que l'explication fournie par Ross sur les raisons d'être des relations bi-nationales en négociation collective ne soit pas complète. C'est donc dire qu'il y a plus que la communauté de propriété, que l'existence d'une politique syndicale centralisée et que la rivalité syndicale dans l'explication d'un tel phénomène. La variation des prix sur le marché du produit, le choix pour le syndicat de négocier avec la compagnie la plus importante pour établir le « pattern », l'importance des facteurs historiques et des facteurs de personnalité et le genre de membership syndical semblent être des facteurs importants à considérer dans l'explication des relations bi-nationales.
Cependant l'on doit noter les dangers possibles des stratégies et des pressions bi-nationales : la menace à la souveraineté canadienne, et l'éventualité d'une grève nord-américaine dans une industrie donnée constituent de sérieux problèmes sur le plan théorique, mais leur probabilité de concrétisation demeure très mince. Notons en plus que l'existence d'une politique de salaires dans un pays ou dans l'autre peut être sérieusement mise en danger par de telles conventions bi-nationales.
Dans l'ensemble, les conventions résultant de la négociation bi-nationale semblent être un facteur important de stabilité et de plus grande paix industrielle dans une industrie donnée. On peut prévoir la croissance d'un tel genre de négociation au Canada. Cependant, une foule de questions restent encore sans réponse.
The author considers whether the multinational corporation constituted a challenge to the industrial relations systems as they have developed in Europe over the last quarter of a century and what response such a challenge found in the trade-union movement.
La société multinationale a-t-elle posé un problème d'adaptation aux divers systèmes de relations industrielles en Europe ces vingt-cinq dernières années, et comment le mouvement ouvrier a-t-il réagi ?
Il convient de souligner trois points au sujet de la société multinationale ou internationale : la croissance de la société multinationale, phénomène typique des années soixante, n'est pas tant une expansion numérique qu'une accélération du rythme d'accroissement des investissements, de la production et des ventes. Il est concevable que d'ici vingt ans le volume du secteur des sociétés internationales corresponde au produit national brut des États-Unis.
La nature même de l'administration s'est modifiée. Celle des filiales a perdu son caractère « plénipotentiaires ». Le pouvoir de décision plus ou moins grand qu'on laisse à ces dernières n'est plus une question de relations extérieures, mais une question de politique centrale. La gestion peut de ce fait assumer un caractère véritablement international là où la nationalité des directeurs locaux importe peu et quand les divers directeurs nationaux de sociétés internationales s'identifient entre eux de plus en plus étroitement plutôt qu'avec leurs confrères du même pays.
L'expansion rapide de la société multinationale, associée au changement de structure et de nature de l'administration, va directement à rencontre du développement concurrent et de la notion « d'État-providence ».
Considérons le rôle joué par le mouvement syndical européen et ses alliés politiques dans l'expansion de l'État-providence. Nous saisirons du même coup les craintes qu'a suscité le caractère « insaisissable » de la société internationale au regard des politiques et institutions nationales. Ces sociétés échappent largement à la souveraineté des États et une sorte de vide s'est formé dans le domaine de la législation et de la réglementation. Ce vide doit être comblé.
Les syndicats affiliés à la CISL et les secrétariats professionnels internationaux qui leur sont associés et qui groupent le gros des travailleurs syndiqués de l'Europe, ont adopté au neuvième congrès mondial de la CISL une résolution visant à ce que les priorités de planification économique nationale soient respectées ; que les fusions de sociétés soient soumises à l'approbation des autorités publiques ; que toutes les mesures soient prises à temps pour éviter les avatars sociaux résultant de changements de structure et de la fermeture d'usines ; qu'un contrôle démocratique soit établi à chaque palier de décision et que les lois ou règlements nouveaux régissant les activités internationales, régionales ou nationales des sociétés multinationales s'inspirent des exigences du progrès social maximum dans une économie équilibrée.
Le plan de mise en oeuvre de la résolution de la CISL présente trois approches stratégiques : changements qu'il faudrait apporter aux structures mêmes des organisations syndicales, modifications aux méthodes de négociation collective et de règlement des conflits du travail, et, enfin, adaptations à obtenir de la législation nationale et de la législation internationale ainsi que des organisations intergouvernementales afin de combler « le vacuum constaté en matière de législation et de réglementation » concernant les sociétés multinationales.
Le pionnier dans le domaine de l'adaptation des structures des syndicats aux entreprises industrielles multinationales est, à n'en pas douter, la Fédération internationale des métallurgistes (FIM). Dans le secteur automobile de la FIM, on a créé des conseils par entreprise, à l'échelle mondiale, par exemple Ford, General Motors, Chrysler et Volkswagen-Benz pour commencer, auxquels s'ajoutent la British Leyland Motors et conjointement Toyota et Nissan.
Dans le domaine de l'électricité et de l'électronique, en raison du plus grand nombre de sociétés, la FIM a procédé un peu différemment, avec « des comités de compagnies multinationales » qui semblent avoir une orientation plus régionale.
Ces changements et ces adaptations en matière d'organisation, tant au niveau des fédérations internationales de centres nationaux qu'au niveau des syndicats affiliés, visent essentiellement au même but, à savoir l'internationalisation de la stratégie syndicale d'abord au plan national en ce qui concerne la négociation collective et le règlement des conflits, puis sur les plans national et international en vue d'obtenir une législation nationale et internationale qui assure une protection légale.
Nous sommes encore loin de la véritable négociation mixte internationale avec des sociétés multi-nationales. Dans certains cas, toutefois, des représentants syndicaux ont pu traiter directement avec les cadres supérieurs de sociétés multinationales. On met également au point certaines techniques qui, n'impliquant aucune négociation de type international, sont nées de situations locales spécifiques et se sont ensuite internationalisées par une tentative de généralisation des points en litige à l'ensemble des filiales des différents pays. Cette technique est utilisée avec grand succès par la Fédération internationale des travailleurs du pétrole et de la chimie (FIPC) dons le cas de la compagnie multinationale de verre de Saint-Gobain. Ce sera là peut-être un précédent typique. Toutefois la FIPC a peu de chances d'être un modèle que puissent adopter un grand nombre d'industries, étant donné que son activité s'exerce dans le cadre d'une industrie bien intégrée, à capital puissant, où la syndicalisation est relativement facile. Le succès d'une technique semblable dépend d'une action solidaire fortement disciplinée et synchronisée.
L'internationalisation de la stratégie syndicale vis-à-vis des sociétés multinationales suppose
1) une étude fouillée de la situation économique, des tendances de l'expansion, de la situation particulière des sociétés et de leurs filiales, la connaissance de leurs relations mutuelles, de l'expansion du profit, des conditions de salaire et de travail ; autant d'aspects qui pourraient faire l'objet d'une compilation et d'une revision constante par des ordinateurs ;
2) la transmission rapide de ces informations aux syndicats qui sont impliqués dans des négociations, la coordination des politiques et stratégies utilisées dans chaque situation, en d'autres termes, l'internationalisation des négociations menées dans chaque pays ;
3) des occasions de rencontre plus nombreuses avec les dirigeants des sociétés multinationales, sinon pour une négociation directe, du moins pour examiner certaines questions et s'entendre sur des principes de base.
4) la coopération des gouvernements à la création et à l'expansion d'institutions qui permettront de faire disparaître les lacunes actuelles de la législation non seulement au niveau national mais surtout international.
Afin de mettre en route le programme de recherche intensif et permanent dont il est question, il faudra que les organismes syndicaux à l'échelon national modifient du tout au tout leurs façons de penser et leur attitude vis-à-vis des organisations internationales.
Les syndicats, et à cet égard aussi les gouvernements, ont beaucoup de mal à obtenir des renseignements sur les politiques des sociétés multinationales. La plupart des syndicats européens ont réussi, soit par voie législative, soit par voie de conventions collectives, à mettre leur poids dans les décisions prises. Ce qu'ils craignent le plus, c'est une administration « absente » qui se déroberait à leur influence. La crainte de voir les sociétés multinationales intervenir dans les politiques nationales a conduit les syndicats européens à faire pression sur leurs gouvernements respectifs afin qu'ils définissent et redéfinissent encore leur position vis-à-vis des sociétés multinationales. L'attitude ambivalente des sphères gouvernementales vis-à-vis du phénomène des sociétés multinationales est une source croissante de tension en Europe. La tendance européenne actuelle consiste essentiellement à vouloir s'attaquer au caractère quasi insaisissable du phénomène afin de le soumettre à la législation et aux accords nationaux et internationaux.
La première conférence européenne des Travailleurs de l'automobile qui s'est tenue en décembre 1969 a traité des objectifs précis de la négociation collective. On y a insisté sur l'égalisation et la normalisation des conditions de travail et des avantages sociaux. On a établi les priorités suivantes : sécurité d'emploi, égalité des droits des femmes, enfin, droits syndicaux dans l'atelier.
Il est probable qu'avant que les syndicats ne s'attaquent à la véritable négociation collective internationale, ils useront de leur puissance politique afin d'obtenir l'extension et l'uniformisation des lois touchant les normes du travail dans le cadre, qui sera peut-être élargi, de la Communauté économique européenne.
L'auteur dégage les principaux traits de la nouvelle Loi des relations de travail dans l'industrie de la construction au Québec : il n'y aura qu'une seule négociation et une seule convention collective, au niveau régional ou provincial. La loi vise à assurer plus d'ordre et plus d'unité dans une industrie déchirée par de nombreuses tensions ; l'expérience des négociations de 1969, et bien davantage celle de 1970, ne sont guère encourageantes : jamais décret n'a soulevé autant de difficultés ; et les rivalités intersyndicales demeurent aussi profondes que jamais, surtout en matière de placement et de sécurité d'emploi. Cet article a été préparé en juin 1970 et février 1971.
The formula and history of industry-wide bargaining in the Québec construction industry is a rare if not unique case in North America.
LEGAL SYSTEM AND STATUS
Prior to a new law enacted December 1968 — The Construction Industry Labour Relations Act, known as Bill 290 — labour relations in the construction industry had operated under two different laws, the Labour Code, which regulates the general system of certification and collective bargaining at the employer's level, and the Collective Agreement Decrees Act, which provides for the possibility of extending a privately bargained collective agreement to make it, by way of decree, mandatory to all employers and employees of an industry in a definite region. Since 1934, the construction industry in Québec had chosen to operate under this system of juridical extension. From the very beginning, an industry-wide bargaining system was set up juridical by the parties themselves. Fifteen decrees thus determined the conditions of work for all the general trades in as many different areas ; the bargaining for the respective agreements was conducted on an industry-wide basis at the regional level. A few highly specialized trades had provincial agreements and decrees. There were very few instances of certifications ; many of these were used as a protection or a weapon against a rival union, especially in the mechanical trades.
Bill 290 has eliminated the double system and placed the construction labour relations under one single Act. At the same time, it purported to centralize even more fully the bargaining process, stating that there will be strictly one bargaining and one agreement by region (or for the whole province, if the parties involved so desired).
To ensurecomplete industry-wide bargaining, the certification system was abolished and replaced by a new concept, that of representative associations. Two provincial labour bodies are thus designated in the Act itself, the Confederation of National Trade Unions (C.N.T.U.) and the Québec Federation of Labour (Q.F.L.) with respect to their own affiliates, respectively the national construction syndicates, which are preponderant in the various regions outside of Montréal, and locals of the international building trades unions, more heavily concentrated in the Montréal area and, on a province-wide basis, in some highly technical trades. On the employers' side, five contractors' groups are named to represent management jointly at the bargaining table.
The system of juridical extension remains basically as before, with the possibility, now, that the whole agreement may be incorporated in the decree, including union security clauses. The law provides that the agreement and the ensuing decree must contain certain provisions respecting wages, social security and other fringe benefits, union security and check-off, grievance procedures and the like ; it may contain any other clause which is not against the law or public order. Strike or lock-out action is permitted at the expiration of any decree and negotiations must begin at least three months before that date.
OBJECTIVES AND IMPLICATIONS
Bill 290 can be considered as an attempt to bring unity and order in an industry that is deeply divided because of its complex nature : inter-trades, inter-regions and inter-unions conflicts have disrupted construction labour relations more than any other sector of the economy. An industry-wide highly-centralized system is hoped to prevent some of these disruptions. At the same time, it can bring much needed uniformity in trade definitions and qualification requirements. The system is also designed to provide more stability to unions and employers' organizations, the development of which was somewhat hampered by the juridical extension system as it existed since 1934.
The formula will bring more power to the designated parties but also increased control over them. A union security clause will make membership in an affiliate of one of the two main labour bodies obligatory for all workers in the industry. Although certain mechanisms are foreseen to ensure freedom of association and the possibility for new groups to be recognized, the power that the designated associations will acquire will be so great that a change may become practically impossible. They will thus appear almost as public organizations and will require heavy controls to protect the individual member and his fondamental rights. The same may be said, with the appropriate qualifications, of the employers' associations.
The one bargaining and one agreement principle will also call for more government intervention in the bargaining process itself. The Act foresees the possibility for the Minister to appoint, of his own motion, a conciliation officer from the very beginning of the negotiations, what he did in 1970. The implications will be so big and far-reaching, especially if the bargaining is conducted at the province level, both for the government as a buyer of construction and for the economy as a whole, that it is almost impossible to imagine that the agreement, mainly its monetary clauses, can be settled without some kind of government intervention.
But centralization has also other aspects. A unified system may permit the implementation of portable social security benefits, as well as some kind of seniority provisions, greater job security and the like.
APPLICATION AND PROBLEMS : AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
The history of the Bill, both before and after its enactment, provides an excellent example of the antagonizing forces of unity and disruption within the industry.
Both labour and management had been requesting a review of the legal situation for a long time, especially on the questions of certification and the relationship between the agreement and the decree. A study committee was set up by the Department of Labour in the Summer of 1967. All members of the committee appeared to be in accord on some very basic points : a new certification system was necessary, trade definitions were badly lacking uniformity, apprenticeship regulations and professional jurisdiction had to be revised and inter-union rivalry needed much soothing. But no one knew how some of these points, mainly the last one, could be implemented. In fact, while the committee was pursuing his work, violent confrontations erupted and numerous demonstrations were held.
Finally, in December 1968, the government tabled its Bill. It was turned immediately to a parliamentary committee where the parties attacked violently certain parts of the Bill, especially a section which was intended to ban any closed shop agreement and replace the union hiring hall system by a provision imposing on all employers the obligation to hire all workers through Québec Manpower Centres. The provision hurted more directly the international building trades unions since their hiring hall system is more developed and more strongly established than that of the C.N.T.U. syndicates. The opposition was so strong that the proposed section had to be deleted and the whole question was turned back to a joint commission, which was established to study other points that needed to be standardized.
Bill 290 was rapidly put to test, since ten decrees were up for renewal in the early part of 1969. The bargaining started at ten different tables, but was quickly reduced to one : the Montréal negotiations became, for all practical purposes, a provincial table. The C.N.T.U. had centered its campaign around the slogan : « Job security through joint employment offices ». Since the Joint Advisory Commission could not reach an agreement on a proposal regarding union hiring halls, while the C.N.T.U. syndicates refused to sign any agreement that would not; contain provisions on this point, a partial agreement was reached between Q.F.L. unions and the employers' organizations at the end of April which was to be applied in the Montréal area. The legality of this agreement may be questioned, but it avoided a strike for the time being. Strike action punctuated with violence developed in some areas of the province during the Summer. An agreement was finally reached in July ; it had to be revised and became the construction decree only at the end of October. The new decree contained, among other points, mandatory union security clauses, together with an engagement by the employers to implement, in the next agreement, wage parity for so-called provincial workers and, for all the other workers, to establish for each area a wage ratio according to its economic situation. As far as the employment security and hiring hall question was concerned, the parties had agreed to refer the problem to an arbitrator if the Joint Advisory Commission could not reach an agreement by the end of November 1969.
The Joint Commission did not reach any agreement and Judge Gold had to try and develop a workable system. His recommendations were taken up by an order in council dated April 23, 1970. Construction workers were divided into various categories with different hiring provisions for each : the regular employee of an employer (either a provincial regular who has worked 1500 hours for the same employer or a regional who has worked 800 hours) may be hired directly by the employer himself ; the permanent or professional employee who has worked 800 hours in the industry may be hired either through a Québec Manpower Centre or a union hiring hall ; all the others, who are called reservists, must be hired exclusively through a Québec Manpower Centre. In February 1971, the system is still not ready to operate, since the status of the various employees has not yet been completed.
The 1970 negotiations have been particularly difficult. The 1969 decree (and also the five others remaining from the previous system) expired at the end of April 1970. Bargaining had progressed very little when a strike occurred in the Montréal area during the month of May, apparently because of the fear that working conditions would be changed since there was no decree. Workers went back to work after the adoption of Minimum Wage Order No. 12, which ensured that previous working conditions would be maintained, and after the parties had agreed on a job site steward clause at the bargaining table. But in early July, strikes erupted elsewhere in the province ; after a month the government decided to step into the dispute and ordered back the workers to their jobs by special legislation. Bill 38 enjoined the parties to get back to work and to resume negotiations ; if these negotiations failed to produce an agreement within a month, the Committee on Labour and Manpower of the National Assembly would be called to hear the parties ; the Committee convened in late September, early October and November. For all practical purposes, no bargaining took place after the month of August and the decree, which was adopted in late December 1970, was wholly the work of government employees, except for the clauses that had been initialed before the enactment of Bill 38. The new decree has aroused opposition from all parties. The employers reject a too rapid wage parity (to be almost completed by January lst1973) together with the regrouping of many classifications and regions, which means dramatic wage increases in many cases. The C.N.T.U. says the wage parity is still incomplete and it attacks the government for not forcing a quicker application of the decree. The international building trades unions strongly oppose the job security and employment system.
It is hard to foresee whether the forces of unity or of disruption will finally prevail. Bill 290 has tried to impose a highly-centralized industry-wide bargaining structure ; the 1970 experiment has been a near-failure, inasmuch as the present decree had to be imposed on the parties according to the provisions of Bill 38. The employment security and hiring hall problem has not been solved either : will the government decide to impose its views on this question or will it back down to Q.F.L. unions pressure remains to be seen.
J. Douglas Muir
This paper is directed to the bargaining structure issue and examines the problems and direction of decentralized bargaining in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario
Le problème de la négociation collective pour les enseignants au Canada est généralement résolu. Il reste cependant deux ombres au tableau : la question de droit et la question de structure. Le premier problème réfère à l'usage de la grève et/ou d'autres moyens alors que le second soulève la question du niveau approprié pour les négociations collectives (locales, régionales, etc). Ce problème de structure inclut évidemment la question du degré de centralisation qui devrait exister en négociation collective. Cet article examine la structure de la négociation chez les enseignants et s'attarde sur les problèmes et les tendances de la négociation décentralisée en Colombie Britannique, en Alberta et en Ontario.
LE DÉVELOPPEMENT DES STRUCTURES DÉCENTRALISÉES DE NÉGOCIATION
La raison expliquant l'existence de structures décentralisées est fondamentalement historique : dès les débuts, on retrouve le pouvoir au niveau local. Cependant, avec le temps, on remarque une divergence croissante de vue entre les côtés patronal et syndical quant à cette décentralisation. L'argument majeur de cette divergence provient de la préoccupation suivante : est-ce que la négociation décentralisée prend les conditions locales en considération? Le côté patronal prétend que non, alors que le côté syndical répond affirmativement à cette question. Sous un tel système de négociation, on peut faire l'hypothèse quesi les conditions locales varient entre juridictions scolaires etsi ces conditions locales jouent un rôle important dans le processus de négociation, il y aura alors une grande disparité entre les structures de salaires établies par les différentes juridictions scolaires à travers une province.
L'étude que nous avons faite révèle qu'il n'y a qu'une très faible influence des conditions locales sur les niveaux de salaires en Colombie Britannique et en Alberta. Nous retrouvons cependant l'inverse en Ontario, mais l'intégration des commissions scolaires rendra vite le cas ontarien semblable à celui des deux provinces de l'Ouest.
La similarité intraprovinciale des salaires des enseignants même sous un système de négociation collective décentralisée trouve son explication dans cinq facteurs principaux : le facteur financier (participation des gouvernements provinciaux), le marché du travail (par son caractère concurrentiel), le rôle croissant des associations provinciales d'enseignants, le rôle des tierces parties en négociation collective et le rôle de la procédure de négociation.
LES TENDANCES DES STRUCTURES DÉCENTRALISÉES
Nous pouvons conclure de façon générale que la structure décentralisée de négociation ne considère plus autant l'impact des conditions locales. Il apparaît donc rentable de négocier chaque année au niveau local. On arrive cependant à se demander s'il existe une justification pour la tenue d'un grand nombre de négociations dont les résultats sont tellement similaires. On trouve justification en considérant la communication et les relations entre enseignants et leurs commissions scolaires et la participation locale à la prise de décisions. Cependant il n'existe pas de justification économique.
The author stresses the point that multi-employer bargaining in a primary or resource-based industry is under some circumstances at least, quite different in character and consequences from its counterpart in other types of industries or other contexts. To illustrate his point, he presents the case of the B.C. Coast Lumber Industry.
Les termes centralisation et concentration en négociation collective réfèrent habituellement au concept de la négociation multi-employeur ou par branche d'industrie sur une échelle régionale ou nationale. Partant de ces concepts, nous maintenons que la négociation multi-employeur dans une industrie dite primaire est, du moins en certaines circonstances entièrement différente en nature et en conséquences de la négociation de même type dans d'autres secteurs et contextes.
L'INDUSTRIE DES MATÉRIAUX DE CONSTRUCTION
La fréquence des conflits industriels caractérise cette industrie de la Colombie-Britannique malgré le fait que la négociation multi-employeur y existe sur une base régionale depuis plus de vingt-cinq ans. Non seulement y compte-t-on un bon nombre de grèves légales, mais également une profusion de grèves sauvages encore plus grandes en nombre.
LES CAUSES DU CONFLIT
Les causes du conflit sont nombreuses et complexes et souvent interdépendantes. Voici celles qui nous apparaissent les plus importantes :
1. L'hypothèse de Kerr-Seigel
Ces deux auteurs attribuent la grande fréquence de grève dans cette industrie à des facteurs tels la grande proportion d'employés temporaires, l'isolation géographique et sociale des travailleurs et la difficulté d'avoir une vie de famille stable.
2. Les frontières industrielles, la structure et la juridiction syndicales
La difficulté de définir l'industrie mène à de sérieux problèmes d'évaluation des tâches, de négociation de taux de salaires, de structure et de juridiction syndicale, surtout lorsqu'on considère les différences entre l'industrie côtière des matériaux de construction et celle du centre de la province.
3. L'instabilité propre de cette industrie due à des fluctuations cycliques et saison-sonières.
4. Les comparaisons avec des industries de la construction et de la pulpe et du papier affectent nettement les travailleurs de l'industrie des matériaux de construction.
5. La structure syndicale et le gouvernement interne de l'International Wood-workers of America sont problématiques.
6. L'attitude anti-syndicale des employeurs et de leur association.
7. L'attitude amorphe, contradictoire et pro-patronale de la politique de relations du travail du gouvernement provincial.
8. L'hostilité dans les relations syndicales, le climat de non confiance dans la négociation collective et le manque de données statistiques et économiques.
La série de changements technologiques à l'intérieur de l'industrie des matériaux de construction en Colombie-Britannique depuis vingt-cinq ans n'a pas provoqué de modifications majeures ni du côté syndical, ni du côté patronal en ce qui a trait aux attitudes de l'un vis-à-vis l'autre. Alors comment évaluer l'efficacité de la négociation collective dans cette industrie ? Serait-ce par l'efficacité technique, par les gains syndicaux, par les moyens de communication entre les partis ? Si l'on ne considère que les deux derniers critères, il semble de toute évidence que la négociation multi-employeur dans cette industrie a été inefficace en Colombie-Britannique.
In this case study of the Ontario trucking industry, the author considers the« for hire » section of the industry and, within this section, emphasizes general freight transport in order to illustrate the advantages and shortcomings of the multi-employer bargaining system.
Le seul exemple de l'industrie ontarienne du camionnage fournit un modèle sophistiqué de négociation multi-employeur et présente un climat agité de relations du travail, climat caractérisé par des grèves sauvages.
La partie syndicale représentée par les unités locales des Teamsters a fait preuve d'une cohésion d'ensemble en négociant globalement avec l'association d'employeurs et en faisant bloc dans les arrêts de travail. L'association d'employeurs de son côté négocie des conventions collectives multi-employeurs et de plus simples contrats couvrant 65 compagnies. Cette association regroupe 21,000 membres et conduit les négociations par son Conseil mixte composé de représentants des onze locaux de la province.
Les employeurs trouvent plusieurs avantages à ce style de négociations. Sans tous les mentionner, notons la possibilité d'un front commun, l'auto-détermination des politiques et l'absence de concurrence dans les salaires. Pour le côté syndical, notons entre autres avantages d'un tel style de négociations : une plus grande facilité d'administration et l'uniformité dans les tactiques de grèves.
L'absence de négociation au niveau de la firme et les imperfections de l'organisation au moment de crise apparaissent comme les principaux inconvénients de ce type de négociation du côté patronal. Du côté syndical, la présence d'une menace possible de lockout constitue un désavantage marqué.
En Ontario, la partie patronale a fait preuve d'une remarquable stabilité principalement basée sur sa structure organisationnelle, sur la faiblesse de la partie syndicale, sur des techniques raffinées d'administration de conventions collectives et sur la solidarité des employeurs. Comme résultat, le chaos actuel résulte principalement de la dissension à l'intérieur des syndicats.
Après quelques commentaires sur le rôle de la recherche en négociation collective, l'auteur examine le contexte des négociations collectives au sein duquel fonctionne le Bureau de recherches sur les traitements
INTRODUCTION : GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
The Function of Research
This article might be started by offering some thoughts of a general nature, since its topic rests on a fundamental premise which is that independent research is a useful function in collective bargaining.
First, while recognizing that the fact that a collective bargaining system is centralized or decentralized, can have definite implications for specific research objectives, it could be questioned that the very function of research in collective bargaining has to change fundamentally because of the changing context In which it is performed. Research is not only a servicing function, it is also a creative function. For instance, if the structure of collective bargaining can have an impact on the kinds of research that are to be conducted, it is also possible that a change in the structure of collective bargaining towards a higher degree of centralization or vice-versa, can be the result of careful research assessment.
Centralization and Decentralization in Collective Bargaining
Secondly, it is submitted here that the concepts of "centralization" and of "decentralization" in collective bargaining must be approached in a realistic and flexible manner.
For example, there may be cases within a centralized structure, where the bargaining process does not appear to be geared to the provision of sufficient attention to local factors ; including local market pressures and forces. An illustration of this is where the centralization of the bargaining system is such that the collective agreement may cease to be the document from which reliable wage and salary information can be extracted for the simple reason that the rates actually paid are often above the centrally negotiated rates, which because of the very structure of the collective bargaining process cannot reflect regional or local market forces. As it is known, such situations have developed in certain contexts outside North-America. On the other hand, and returning to our own setting, more centralized bargaining, may produce master agreements that apply to the total of the bargaining unit and are supplemented by additional documents applying to local establishments, thereby providing attention to local factors. These observations are made for the simple purpose of urging somewhat of a balanced approach to the very concepts of "centralization" and "decentralization".
As a final comment on the desirability of a balanced approach to the concepts of "centralization" or "decentralization" in collective bargaining, the following quotation from a paper delivered by Mr. Robert Sauvé to the 1970 McGill Industrial Relations Conference may be of relevance here :
"In my opinion, the most important phenomenon is the ageing or obsolescence of the collective agreement. The necessity of negotiating working conditions in a context that extends beyond the enterprise is already being felt. We know that certain employer-employee agreements are bound to involve entire sectors of activity and that they have a part to plan in the pursuit on the economic and social aims of the collectivity. However, this does not mean that the collective agreement involving one or more enterprises in particular is about to disappear completely. On the contrary, indeed. Experience in foreign countries is increasingly proving to us that certain problems of the workers must be discussed within a context limited exclusively to the enterprise concerned. The recent agitation in Sweden is an outstanding reminder of the obligation to remain close to the worker and to dispell the many delusions that employers and certain specialists might have... On the other hand, many working conditions must be in harmony with the economic policies and the circumstances of a given sector of activity. Therefore, the happy medium would consist in having negotiations carried out on various levels and according to methods of proceeding corresponding to the very nature of the problems discussed. More and more, we shall have, at our disposal, legal structures adapted to the various types of negociations as well as to the particular conditions prevailing in each of the large fields of professional activity". (Translation) i
The Reputation of the Role of Research in Collective Bargaining
A third general thought would be on the reputation of the role of research in collective bargaining. We have on several occasions, heard industrial relations practitioners, including negociators from both sides, who commend wide respect in view of their proven record of success and skill, question the use of statistical data and other information at the bargaining table, or at conciliation hearings. The accuracy of such statements cannot be questioned in view of the fact that in some specific situations, research information cannot always provide or strengthen the basis for agreement.
What might be feared is the possible emergence, as a result of these statements related to specific events, of a widely-held negative approach to the role of research in collective bargaining and labour relations. Our own experience (for what is worth), and we are sure the experience of many colleagues engaged in independent labour relations research simply do not support such a negative view.
Our approach to the role of research should be balanced and realistic.
To perhaps put it in modest or minimal terms, we feel that even if statistics and other information that are placed on the bargaining table are not to be used as material to be eventually incorporated in the terms of settlement, they might very well help the parties in certain situations and contexts to have a clearer notion of what they do not wish to obtain or to settle for, and thereby help the parties, through a needed process of elimination, to gain a better notion of what they in fact would be prepared to accept.
We clearly recall a case of potentially major and even serious proportions where researched information provided was not specifically incorporated in the settlement that was arrived at, but in addition to providing useful information helped one of the parties in gaining a clearer notion of what they would not wish to settle for, and at the same time helped the two parties to find a common ground for agreement. Not to mention cases where researched information submitted to the parties can just contain the elements of accomodations or solutions the parties were looking for, without having perhaps been able, and for possible very good reasons, to initially have a very explicit notion of what they actually wanted.
In relation to this comment, we are tempted to add, incidentally, that a labour relations research officer should never feel discouraged if a settlement or a collective agreement in relation to which he has worked, does not show any sign that some of his analyses or interpretations have been incorporated, for his findings may have been highly useful as an indispensable stepping stone to the final compromise.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING ENVIRONMENT
Against the background of these general thoughts, the collective bargaining environment within the Pay Research Bureau functions, might be discussed.
Collective Agreement Coverage
As it was reported by the Chairman of the Public Service Staff Relations Board, Mr. Finkelman, at the Convention of the Public Service Alliance in Toronto, in January, 1970 :
"In a period of a little less than three years since the Public Service Staff Relations Act came into force, bargaining agents have been certified for all but at most a few thousand employees in a Public Service that numbers, I believe, some 215,000 ... that is, pretty close to the full 100%. On the other hand, the Department of Labour reports that, as of January 1, 1967, trade unions represented about 32% of non-agricultural paid workers in Canada and about 26% of the overall labour force. The percentage has not changed more than fractionally in the last two years".
"It is obvious that, in so far as the growth of employee organization is affected by management opposition, such opposition in the Public Service, if it did exist, was effectively curbed by public policy. Indeed, if additional proof were required of this conclusion, it can be provided by reference to the extent of organization among what are commonly referred to as white-collar workers and professionals, an area where, even apart from the reluctance of some of such employees to join unions, a great degree of employer opposition to unionization is likely to be encountered today. In the Federal Public Service, such employees are now almost 100% organized. In employment that does not come under the Public Service Staff Relations Act, only about 15% of office employees in Canada as a whole are covered by collective agreements. To make another comparison if one excludes the Federal Public Service only about 25% of employees in public administration in Canada enjoy the fruits of collective bargaining. (Preliminary figures released by Surveys Division, Economies and Research Branch, Canada Department of Labour)"2.
In addition to this significant comment, it might be observed that we have at the federal level an almost totally organized and predominantly white collar segment including a number of professional employees who in the private sector are only rarely organized. We also have at the federal level a great variety of occupations functioning almost side by side under collective agreement.
Perhaps this last comment could be expressed in more specific terms and a quotation from a presentation by T.J. Wilkins might here be helpful :
"In all, close a quarter million employees come under the umbrella of the Public Service Staff Relations Act. They include professional employees, supervisory employees, office workers in a wide variety of occupations — Furthermore, a great variety of specialized occupations are represented in the total body of federal employees who are now entitled to the full rights of the collective bargaining legislation for the first time in history. They include occupations like scientists, engineers, teachers, foreign service officers, air traffic controllers, as well as the more conventional clerical and administrative occupations. Coverage of these many varied occupations provides a fertile ground for precedent-setting collective bargaining decisions, the impact of which may well extend beyond the context of the Public Service" 3.
Commenting on this last quotation one can, it is felt, accurately state that in the case of the Federal Public Service, collective bargaining for the most part is not only centralized but that it is diversified as well in terms of the number of occupations and functions that it covers. This diversity can be considered as adding to the significance of our collective bargaining environment. Indeed, in the context of the dynamics of collective bargaining, one can safely speculate that collective agreements are bound to influence each other. Discussing in hypothetical but not unrealistic terms, it can be stated that it is not unlikely that if in the private sector, what has for instance been negotiated on the problem of safety in construction might be found to be useful with regard to a problem of technological change in textile or vice-versa, it is not necessarily impossible that within the Public Service what has been negotiated for engineers for example can be found to be useful for teachers, clerks or computer specialists, or vice-versa. What might usefully be explored here is the impact that the closeness of Public Service collective agreements can have on the transferability of provisions and even experience, from one occupational stream to another 4.
Potential Impact of Public Service Bargaining in Other Sectors
If one can recognized these internal dynamics (in need of research of course) of the collective bargaining process in the Public Service, one has also to recognize the potential impact of that collective bargaining process on the non-public service sector. In this respect, the most recent Annual Report released by the Public Service Staff Relations Board, contained the following comment :
"It is beyond doubt that the establishment of a collective bargaining system in a public service context is a development of major significance since some of the key environmental factors and institutional goals that have an impact on collective bargaining and on the nature of the collective agreements reached in the public service are clearly distinct from those that condition collective bargaining and collective agreements in the private sector. In addition to the distinctive characteristics of the public service environment, the very newness of collective bargaining in the federal public service is also a factor that can lead to the well-founded expectation that some of the agreements that are and will be arrived at by the parties may have preceding setting value and may therefore have a marked impact on the nature of some of the agreements subsequently reached. That this precedent setting value might, in some cases, extend to collective bargaining in the private sector could well turn out to be over a period of time and increasingly verifiable hypothesis" 5.
Regarding specifically the role of research and information in collective bargaining, there is another distinctive characteristic of the Public Service environment which could be briefly discussed, in relation to the private sector environment.
The Public Service Environment and the Role of Research
It is realistic to assume that an employer in the private sector may not, for very good reasons (one of them being the maintenance of the competitive position of his firm), wish to convey in detail to other employers (particularly his competitors) the reasons why some of the provisions he has negotiated have proven to be very successful in terms of his employees' morale as well as in terms of the general utilisation of his work force. That reluctance in exchanging information with other employers is, in some cases, to be related to the competitive nature of the system within which private employers generally operate.
It is submitted her that perhaps among other factors, the obviously lesser importance of inner economic competitiveness within the Public Service would likely make collective bargaining information more easily communicable from one bargaining unit to another. In such a context, it can be suggested that the role of research could be made easier and, as a result, research could become all the more helpful to the process of collective bargaining.
A further point might be suggested.Within reasonable limits, studies of the collective bargaining process prepared, as it has been suggested, in the perhaps more fluid informational context in the Public Service could provide findings that would be of practical interest to employers and unions in outside sectors where the results of collective bargaining research might perhaps not lend themselves to wide circulation. The suggestion just made is of course very tentative, and, as such, open for comments.
THE ROLE OF THE PAY RESEARCH BUREAU
Within our Public Service collective bargaining environment, the Pay Research Bureau plans an unquestionably important role. For readers who are interested in a factual and detailed account of the evolving function of the Pay Research Bureau over the year reference is made to the article by T.J. Wilkins on The Pay Research Bureau, published in the Civil Service Review of September, 1967, and to the dissertation by Robert Giroux, of the University of Ottawa, on Pay Determination in the Canadian Public Service. Finally, the present role of the Pay Research Bureau has been recently discussed by K. Scobie in a paper entitled, The Role and Function of the Pay Research Bureau.
The Evolving Functions of the Pay Research Bureau
Although reference has just been made to the article by T.J. Wilkins on the Pay Research Bureau, it might be appropriate to submit here parts of some of the perhaps more significant paragraphs of that presentation.
"One of the tenets of the pay policy of the Canadian Public Service is that rates of pay and other terms and conditions of employment within the Service should be generally in line with those prevailing for comparable work outside the Public Service. The task of following this policy has become increasingly difficult in times of rapid changes in rates of pay and has resulted in more emphasis on pay research as a separate and important function. Essentially, the pay research process involves compiling factual data on compensation and other conditions of employment".
"In September, 1957, the Pay Research Bureau was created to provide objective information on pay, employee benefits and working conditions both outside and within the Public Service. It was to do this at appropriate intervals in time later coincided with key dates in the biennial cyclical pay review policy of the Government, and as well on a trend basis where possible. It was to provide this information to the principal staff associations as well as to the various government agencies concerned with pay determination. An intrinsic part of the pay research techniques developed by the Bureau was that of job matching, meaning that thepay data collected were related to jobs which were similar in duties and responsibilities.
In contrast to the practice prevailing even now in industry and other governments in Canada, the Pay Research Bureau was divorced from the pay determination process in order to enhance the objectivity of the Bureau's findings and its operational independence. This point is often misunderstood and cannot be overemphasized. The Bureau provides factual, objective and impartial information ; it does not actually set rates of pay or recommend changes in existing rates. Whether or not compensation for the Public Service is adjusted when differences with private employers are demonstrated by Pay Research Bureau data is a matter for employer and employee representatives to resolve at the bargaining table".
"In March, 1967, with the promulgation of the collective bargaining legislation, the Government provided for the continuation of an independent Pay Research Bureau under the aegis of the newly-established Public Service Staff Relations Board.
The transfer of the Pay Research Bureau from the administrative jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission to that of the Public Service Staff Relations Board was a move intended to enhance even more the ability of the Bureau to conduct its operations impartially and in an atmosphere of independence. In the collective bargaining era, the Bureau is clearly required to serve the needs of the parties to bargaining to the extent that its resources permit and to make its findings available both to the employer and to the certified bargaining agent concerned. In general, the Director has greater authority to establish appropriate operating polices and practices, to determine and modify a basic program of studies, and to respond to ad hoc requests. There is, however, an overriding requirement for regular consultation with employer representatives and certified bargaining agents to ensure that their requirements are reflected in the Bureau's program within the limits of its resources".
"Essentially, the Bureau is requesting management in a great many organizations throughout the country to provide data about salaries and wages, working conditions, pay structures and classification plans. This information is often given to the Pay Research Bureau and to no other survey organizations. It is furnished on the understanding that it will be treated in confidence and that the input of individual companies will in no way be revealed in the final reports of the Pay Research Bureau. It is furnished also on the understanding that these reports, even though they represent a distillation of data from many organizations, are distributed on a confidential basis and used in a highly responsible manner. The trust of individual companies is an important commodity without which the Bureau could not obtain the co-operation which is essential if it is to provide the comparative data needed by the parties to bargaining" 6.
The Advisory Committee on Pay Research
In this new context of collective bargaining in the Public Service, the continuing and important role of theAdvisory Committee on Pay Research of the Pay Research Bureau, should certainly be emphasized. This Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr. George E. Gauthier, Vice-Chairman of the Public Service Staff Relations Board, comprises representatives of the Employers and of the Staff Associations, and its principal function is to advice on the scope, priority and other aspects of the Bureau's work, in preparation for collective bargaining. There is no doubt that this Committee makes an extremely valuable contribution towards the development of an informed and factual climate within which collective bargaining can function constructively. In the longer perspective, such Committee may well represent an experiment of significance in the field of employer-employee consultations for the development of relevant and useful information, and it may therefore constitute as part of the Pay Research Bureau total fact-finding effort, a development of significance in the field of labour relations in Canada.
The independent character of the Pay Research Bureau can be illustrated by the balanced consultative mechanisme that has just been described and also by the responsibilities of the Director of the Bureau as outlined in the article that hasbeen quoted and also in the terms of reference of the Bureau, copy of which is attached to this article7.
The Increasing Importance of Independent Research in Labour Relations
Observing the labour and staff relations scène today in most of the public and private sectors leads one to believe that this independent research and survey roe is a method of support to the process of collective bargaining which has been more and more frequently used. Probably due in part to the fact that the conflict aspect of the industrial or staff relations process has been stressed by news media, the increasingly frequent use of jointly planned research and survey efforts has perhaps not received the kind of attention that it deserves.
Although the Pay Research Bureau's role is one of the perhaps better known and even most significant efforts in this area, it is by no means the only instance of it. Recently, as a result of formal understanding between the British Columbia telephone company and the Federation of telephone employees of British Columbia an independent management consultant firm was retained to undertake an objective survey of clerical positions within the bargaining unit. Discussions were held between the company and the federation and the consultants to discuss the scope of the study. It might be mentioned here that the survey was conducted as a result of a commitment made during negotiations between the employer and the federation ; at no time was any consideration given to the possibility of the survey result being used for future negotiations. It was more of a fact finding survey to help develop bench-mark job matches in the area of mutual interest.
Another instance of the use made of independent research was the establishment some time ago of the Manpower Consultative Service by the Federal Department of Labour, a service which is now part of the Department of Manpower and Immigration. It may be recalled here that one of the key principles behind the establishment of this new service was that appropriate steps should be taken well in advance of work displacement resulting from industrial change. And another equally important principle was that where there was a union, a joint union-management approach should be followed with respect to research assessment and plans for dealing with the adjustment process to industrial change. As will also be recalled, steps were taken to provide financial assistance to employers and unions for research on manpower development in advance of changes in technology. There is no doubt that the type of research that has been carried out with such support (and there has been many instances of it) is problem-solving and independent in nature.
Furthermore, recent legislation such as that adopted in the Province of Québec regarding advance notice to be provided in cases of technological change might also encourage and promote the use of independent research because such legislationcan be expected to be an incentive to advance planning in order to work out successful adjustment processes.
What should also be emphasized is the well established and widely recognized research role of the Economies and Research Branch of the Canada Department of Labour where, for a long period of time, substantial staff resources have been very positively used to provide the kinds of factual climates conductive to problem identification and problem solving in labour relations, and related fields.
In summing up, it can be argued that there are probably a number of reasons why independent research and fact finding become of increasing importance in the field of collective bargaining. Two major factors might perhaps be singled out : the fact that the public interest is at stake in an increasing number of employer-employee disputes increases the need for wideranging factual information on the basis of which accommodations can be more easily and quickly worked out. The second major factor is that impact that certain labour relations developments (those resulting from technological change for instance) can have on society at large and in relation to these developments, the increasing awareness by governments of their responsibility in cushioning if not eliminating the adverse impact of certain economic and industrial changes.
THE RESEARCH FUNCTION WITHIN TKE PAY RESEARCH BUREAU
Before discussing in specific terms the activities undertaken in the research division of the Pay Research Bureau, it might perhaps be useful to convey here the spirit in which we approached that research function. Thus, with the permission of the Director of the Pay Research Bureau, we wish to be allowed to read parts of a memo addressed to him on our concept of the role of research in the Public Service collective bargaining environment. This approach, which is still ours, is of course entirely personal in nature :
" During my year at the University of Toronto, I selected to be exposed to the new approaches to the world of work now being systematically taught in various advanced social science courses, and also being actively developed in many sectors of Canadian industry. I refer to the behavioural approach to personnel administration and labour relations, an approach that somewhat extends the emphasis from traditional concepts of " pay and working conditions " to concepts such as the employees' self fulfilment, or career development. " " What is of particular interest is that this new approach is due, in part but not to a small extent, to the arrival on the labour market of great numbers of better educated young employees whose work expectations through years spent in high schools, community colleges or universities have been somewhat strengthened and broadened. In more specific terms it is now recognized in the world of work that good pay alone will no longer be the factor that will attract and keep young employees in a given occupation or environment. Quite aside from attractive salary scales, very practical steps are taken to strengthen the employee's sense of self-fulfilment and, as behavioralists call it, their "self-actualization". "In the light of the general observation just made, three things are of particular relevance here : first, it is that the Public Service of Canada is receiving its contingent of young officers whose years of schooling have strengthened and broadened their work expectations ; secondly, it is that these younger officers are joining the Public Service at a time when collective bargaining becomes the major working conditions setting process in our service ; thirdly, it is that collective bargaining in the public sector as in the private sector, can either inhibit employees' motivations or can stimulate these motivations. " 8
" Needless to say that the observation just made has definite, and in my view, important implications for any research program to be conducted in the Pay Research Bureau. The major implication is that such a research program should be balanced in orientation, more specifically, that it should provide attention to non pas as well as to pay factors in our staff relations context. To put it even more concretely, such a balanced program should help the collective bargaining process in providing not only desirable pay results but also providing the type of collective agreements and collective bargaining relationships which will be in line with the broader career expectations of public servants — particularly those born, raised and educated in an age of affluence. "
" Perhaps my final observation should be that while in the private sector, collective bargaining is often criticized for producing certain results that run counter to employees' work satisfaction, collective bargaining in the public sector — prisoner of hardly any past — has perhaps the golden opportunity to innovate and to be more in tune with the time. To provide a higher degree of work satisfaction might be one of the areas where collective bargaining in the public sector might well show the way to collective bargaining in the private sector. "
The statement just quoted opens of course a longer perspective on the orientation of our research effort. In the shorter perspective, and in view of serious staff shortage, we hâve had to plan our research effort on the basis of priorities of which the first was in view of requests received, a thorough analysis of the collective bargaining process and of collective agreements in the Public Service.
A Priority : The Analysis of the Collective Bargaining Process in the Public Service
With regard to the analysis of collective agreements, a coding schedule and methodology specifically geared to the substance of our agreements has been developed and is now being tested^. It can certainly be expected that in the near future descriptive and analytical articles will be published on some of the significant provisions of our Public Service agreements. Although use was made of the methodology that over the years had been developped in other government agencies and, in particular, that of the Federal Department of Labour, it was soon realized in the light of the many and very specific requests received regarding the substance of our agreements, that a specific approach had to be developed.
There might be ground here for a fear of duplication in effort in the field of collective agreement analysis. It is felt, however, that in the context of the newness of collective bargaining in the Federal Public Service, analytical tools had to be specifically geared to the public service environment. We would not wish to overstress this point, but it is felt that there may be a degree of similarity between human process, such as collective bargaining, and human beings in the sense that as human beings in their prime youth require the more individual attention of the home before becoming engulfed in the broader treatment of the school system, so new processes in their initial phase of development also require detailed and special attention. At any rate, there is for us the golden opportunity to do independent and thorough analysis on a relatively small sample of agreements.
The analysis of Public Service agreements again raises the problem of the environment within they apply. What our centralized and diversified collective bargaining system brings about is a wide variety of situations making these Federal Public Service agreements sensitive to a wide range of many types of situations. There are two underlying dimensions here : the dimension of scope of the bargaining units ; and an occupational dimension. Federal Public Service agreements can,for instance, cover employees working in the midst of urban turmoils and agitation ; and these same agreements may cover the same types of employees working in the likely more relaxed climate of a rural or semi-rural environment.
Federal Public Service agreements can also cover employees in areas where one of the major labour relations concerns of a number of the surrounding corporations in how to increase the work-related happiness of generally well-paid workers. Yet these same agreements will cover similar types of employees in other areas of the country where, due to less favorable economic conditions, the almost exclusive labour relations " concern is still, to use behavioral terms, at the so called " lower needs " of employees, that is earnings.
Because of the variety of occupations that are found in the Federal Public Service, a wider range of sensitivites are bound to develop in relation to economic and social factors. For instance, the Federal Public Servant whose job may be to develop programs of information in either written, oral or filmed form, may be subjected in formulating some of his own collective bargaining demands, to the impact of the phenomenon he is asked to observe and to report on. Writing in hypothetical terms, could for example a film producer requested to present a visual description of a specific social or economic development be to some extent influenced in his own collective bargaining behaviour by some of the things he has had to observe and analyse ?
Social developments can also have an impact on the substance of Federal Public Service agreements. Increasing instances of tensions within penitentiaries could, conceivably I suppose, give rise to demands regarding special or new collective agreement provisions, not only applicable to guards but also to other public servants who, at regular intervals are called upon to perform their duties within penitentiaries.
If what has just been discussed has social substance, it cannot be denied that these types of impacts may also have monetary implications. At any rate, such possible developments are of a nature that require well-planned research that might be helpful in paving the way to adaptive measures and provisions, if the need arises.
lncreased Need for Collective Bargaining Information : A Suggestion
From the standpoint of immediate practicality, it can be stated that in view of the centralized and diversified nature of our collective bargaining system, and in view also of the generally increasing complexity of collective bargaining matters, more specific information and data are likely to be wanted on more provisions, and perhaps more quickly than before.
The question can be raised therefore whether in addition to the analysis of the contents of labour agreements now very extensively conducted, an attempt should not be made, using to the full the computer facilities now available within Departments of Labour, and within Universities such as McGill and Laval, to conduct a coordinated assessment of selected collective bargainingpractices in selected sectors, that is an analysis ofexperience that have taken place as a result of the implemention of selected provisions. This exercise might be the useful beginning of, in our view, a much needed assessment of collective bargaining in terms of its contributions, real or potential, to increases in productivity.
What has just been stated could be illustrated by taking, in a very preliminary manner, the example of a provision pertaining to employees retraining. The analytical approach, and this is of course only a beginning, that might be developed to assess theuse which is, or is not, made of this provision could be described as follows :Provision not used - Reasons: ( 1 ) no changes have taken place that have required its use ; (2) not used due to the bad quality of the provision and to the lack of agreement regarding its possible change during the life of the collective agreement ; (3) not used due to the hostility or lack of interest of employees or of a group of employees; etc.Provision used- Results : (1) immediate positive results ; (2) positive results after period off "testing"; (3) "mixed" results due to the hostility or lack of interest of certain employees or of a group of employees ; etc.Studies on Wage and Salary Trends in the Public Service and Outside Sectors
Another important aspect of our research work is an analysis of Public Service salary changes as a result of collective bargaining. Still another aspect of our research effort is the preparation of reports on wage and salary trends, one such report has recently been published 10 and the other will soon be released. These trend reports are based on an analysis of surveys of given occupations in the ouside sector as well as in the Public Service and it is hoped that by producing these trend studies a useful contribution to the overall study of wage and salary behaviour in Canada can be made.
In terms of new research needs, another for possible exploration might be suggested : and it is assessing the feasibility of presenting as specific manpower forecasts as possible, by occupation, for the public administration sector, and by levels of government. A question related to this research effort might of course be : to what extent, if any, are the changes affecting the occupational structure of the labour force in total reflected in the occupational composition of the Public Service ? There is no doubt that such forecasts, if feasible, might support the planning function within collective bargaining in the Public Service.
Other research needs could be singled out, but it is felt that the points raised in this paper have demonstrated that independent research and fact finding can be of great assistance to the process of collective bargaining in the Public Service as it has been and is of increasing assistance in other sectors.
In concluding, it is suggested that the Pay Resarch Bureau, in view of its widely recognized and well-established tradition of impartiality and independence, provides a unique environment for the planning and carrying out of such research, in the public interest.
* The comments and remarks presented in this article are strictly personal in nature and are note to be taken as a reflection of the official views or thinking of the Pay Research Bureau or the Public Service Staff Relations Board.
1 See Les Relations Industrielles et les Changements Sociaux, a paper by Mr. Robert Sauvé, Deputy Minister, Québec Department of Labour and Manpower; McGill Industrial Relations Conference, 1970, pp. 31-32.
2 FINKELMAN, Jacob, "Some Aspects of Public Service Bargaining in Canada", inThe Civil Service Review, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, March, 1970, p. 18.
3 Some Comments on the Collective Bargaining Scène in the Public Service of Canada, an address by TJ. Wilkins, Director, Pay Research Bureau, to the Toronto Chapter of the Public Personnel Association, p. 3, (October, 1969).
4 Such transferability of collective bargaining experiences, from one occupational sector to another, rests of course on the assumption that some problems encountered in the world of work share a good deal of similarity in substance almost regardless of the occupational context. That assumption can, I feel, be somewhat related to what Professor Everett Hughes had to say when, suggesting an approach to the study of occupations, he wrote in one of his essays :
"We need to rid outselves of any concepts which keep us from seeing that the essential problems of men at work are the same whether they do their work in some famous laboratory or in the messiest vat room of a pickle factory. Until we can find a point of view and concepts which will enable us to make comparisons between the junk peddler and the professor without intent to debunk the one and patronize the other, we cannot do our best work in this field". (SeeMen and Their Work, by Everett C. HUGHES, Harper, 1958, p. 48)
5 Second Annual Report, Public Service Staff Relations Board, p. 48.
6 WELKINS, T.J., "The Pay Research Bureau", in theCivil Service Review, September, 1967.
7 Aside from other responsibilities, it will be noted here that the Director is authorized under the P.R.B. terms of reference to : "determine, and from time to time to modify, a basic programme of studies ; to respond, within such limits and under such conditions as he considers reasonable, to request from accredited employer or employee representatives for special tabulations not called for by the basic programme. The same terms of reference also specify that : "the Director will consult regularly with employer representatives and certified bargaining agents to ensure that, as far as possible within the limits of the Bureau's resources, their requirements are reflected in the Bureau's programme".
8 On the side of possible inhibition, some behavioral scientists consider for instance that the rigidity of the scope of some seniority provisions in the private sector by preventing the occupational mobility of employees, may deprive them from the opportunity to perform different types of work, a situation which may interfere with their self-development and work satisfaction.
9 To gain a notion of the distinctive features of some of the provisions found in Public Service agreements, see paper referred to in footnote number 5.
10 Trends in Rates of Pay in Industrial and Other Organizations in Canada, October 1, 1958 to 1968, Pay Research Bureau, Ottawa, April, 1970.
David Philip Ross
H. D. Woods
Droit du travail
L'exécution en nature de la convention collective n'étant pas toujours praticable, l'octroi d'une compensation pécuniaire peut être la seule façon de faire justice. Cette réponse affirmative pose le problème de la détermination de l'instance habilitée à ordonner le paiement de dommages-intérêts.
Recensions / Book Reviews
Syndicalisme, consommation et société de consommation, par Bernard Solasse, Étude no 3, Équipe spécialisée en relations de travail, Ottawa, Bureau du Conseil privé, 1968, 47 pages.
Adaptation and Innovation in Wage Payment Systems in Canada, by Jack Chernik, Study no 5, Task Force on Labour Relations, Ottawa, Privy council office, 1970, 130 pp.
Sidney H. Ingerman
Le syndicalisme au Québec : structure et mouvement, par MM. J. Dofny et P. Bernard, Étude no 9, Équipe spécialisée en relations du travail, Ottawa, Bureau du Conseil privé, 1968, 117 pp.
Unfair Labour Practices : An Explanatory Study of the Efficacy of the Law of Unfair Labour Practices in Canada,by Inis Christie and Morly Gorsky, Study no 10, Task Force on Labour Relations, Ottawa, Privy Council Office, 1968, 220 pp.
Industrial Conversion and Workers’ Attitudes to Change in Different Industries, by Jan J. Louser and Michael Fullan, Study no 2, Task Force on Labour Relations, Ottawa, Privy Council Office, 1970, 270 pp.
Évolution du patronat et ses répercussions sur les attitudes et pratiques patronales dans la province de Québec, par Laurent Bélanger, Ph.D., Étude no 14, Équipe spécialisée en relations du travail, Ottawa, Bureau du Conseil privé, 1970, 115 p.
Wildcat Strike in Lake City, by Maxwell Flood, Study no 15, Task Force on Labour Relations, Ottawa, Privy Council Office, 1968, 146 pp.
F. R. Anton
A Study of the effects of the $1.25 minimum wage under the Canada Labour (Standards) Code, by Mahmood A. Zaidi, Study no 16, Task Force on labour relations, Ottawa, Privy Council Office, 1970, 163 pp.
Les deux sexes dans la fonction publique, par Kathleen Archibald, Rapport à la Commission de la fonction publique du Canada, Ottawa, Imprimeur de la Reine, 1969, 246 pp.
Canadian Graduate Theses : 1919-1967 : An Annoted Bibliography covering Economic Business and Industrial Relations, par W.D. Wood, L.A. Kelly et P. Kiemar, Industrial Relations Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont., 1970, 483 pp.
Labor Economics and Labor Relations, by Lloyd G. Reynolds, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1970, 5e ed., 692 pp.
Psychologie du groupe, par M.A. Robert, manuel théorique et pratique de l’animateur. Bruxelles, Coll. « Humanisme d’aujourd’hui », Éditions Vie Ouvrière, 1969, 173 pp.
Les Business School Américaines, par Michel Chevalier et Jean François de Chorivit, Paris, Entreprise Moderne d’Édition, 1970, 122 pp.
L’entretien d’appréciation : six dialogues entre chef et subordonné, par N.R. Maier, Paris, Entreprise Moderne d’Édition, 1968, 290 pp.
La participation des travailleurs aux décisions dans les entreprises, Bureau international du travail, Genève, dans Relations professionnelles, no 33, 1969, 192 pp.
Structural Unemployment Theory and Measurement, by G. Peter Penz, Program Development Service, Department of Manpower and Immigration, Ottawa, 1969, Pp. ix + 91.
La médecine en mutation, par Dr Jacques Mététrier, Collection Mutations-Orientations, Casterman/poche, Paris, 1970, 159 pp.