The purpose of this paper is to examine in more detail the nature and scope of two-tier wage systems in a Canadian context. The plan of the paper is as follows: first, it will examine the form which two-tier settlements have taken and provide some data on their prevalence. Second, it will examine possible legal implications of two-tier agreements, and in particular, whether a union which agrees to a lower wage rate for new hires risks violating its duty of fair representation. The final section assesses the long-term viability of two-tier wage systems.
This paper attempts to examine part-time employment from both a legal and economic perspective, looking at the extent of part-time employment, the compensation arrangements for part-time employees with particular emphasis on benefits other than wages, and the apparent inequities in these arrangements. The treatment of part-time workers under existing employment standards and collective bargaining legislation is reviewed and the potential impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is examined.
Since 1982, wage inflation in Canada has shown a pronounced deceleration. Wage settlements and rates of increase in various measures of earnings have declined to their lowest level in the past 25 years. Wage cuts, wage freezes, de-indexing, and flexible compensation in the form of two-tier wage systems and lump-sum payments in lieu of wage increases have become a frequent occurrence in collective bargaining. This wage experience is somewhat of a novelty for Canada, and is also unique among OECD countries.
Most academic labour lawyers in Canada are used to focussing their attention on the "traditional" employment relationship in which workers are more or less permanently employed by a single employer and regularly work forty or so hours per week. This paper focusses attention on the "Baker Street irregulars" of the labour market, to use a Sherlockian analogy.
Many different forms of impasse procedure exist to facilitate arrival at an agreement once the parties, engaged in negotiations, reach an impasse. The more traditional approaches have tended to be the use of mediation (or conciliation), arbitration and strike/lockout.
This paper analyzes the methods by which settlements were arrived at in more than 1400 Ontario collective agreements during the years 1970-1973 and discusses some of the implications of these patterns. The analysis is based on information published jointly by the Federal and Ontario Departments of Labour, covering settlements involving more than 250 employees in industries other than construction.
The collective agreement is the basic corner-stone of collective bargaining in North America. From its beginning the problem of making the provisions of collective agreements binding on the parties who entered into them has been a major concern of unions, employers, employees and increasingly of public authorities.