Official title: Collective bargaining update October 2016
This issue provides an overview of majorFootnote 1 collective bargaining negotiations in the month of October 2016 (section A), innovative clauses in collective agreements (section B), and a literature scan (section C).
A. October overview
Key negotiation activities
In October, ongoing negotiations included the following:
- University of Manitoba and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE): The collective agreement covering approximately 1,200 faculty members expired on March 31, 2016. After months of negotiations, on October 6 the union members voted in favour of commencing a strike action. The initial strike date of October 22 was extended to November 1 to allow negotiations to continue with the help of a provincial conciliator. The main issues for the union are job security, workload and wages.
- Government of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Teachers Union: The collective agreement covering approximately 9,000 teachers expired on July 31, 2015. After the rejection of the first tentative agreement reached on December 1, 2015, the parties continued to meet into 2016. On October 4, the teachers rejected a second tentative agreement. On October 27, the union requested the provincial Minister of Labour and Advanced Education to appoint a conciliation board to assist the parties with their negotiations. If no agreement is reached, the teachers will be in a legal strike position on December 3, 2016. The main issues remain working conditions and classroom size.
- In October, three major collective agreements were reached, one in the public sector (covering 24,500 employees) and two in the private sector (covering 13,120 employees). All three agreements were reached through direct bargaining.
- One agreement was concluded in the federal jurisdiction, in public administration, between the Canada Revenue Agency and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (covering 24,500 employees).
- In the provincial jurisdiction, the two agreements reached were in Ontario, both between Fiat Chrysler and Unifor (covering 13,120 employees) (Chart 1).
|Jurisdiction||Number of Agreements|
|Public sector||Private sector|
|Industry||Number of Agreements|
|Public sector||Private sector|
- The average annual base-rate wage adjustment (over the duration of their contracts) received by the 37,620 employees settling in October was 1.3% (Chart 2). This average wage increase was slightly higher than the average increase received in the previous round of negotiations between the same bargaining parties (1.1%).
- The one agreement concluded in the public sector (public administration) settled for an average wage increase of 1.4%. The two agreements settled in the private sector (both in manufacturing) had an average wage increase of 1.0%.
|Jurisdiction||Wage adjustments (percentage)|
|All jurisdictions (3)||1.3%|
|Industry||Wage adjustments (percentage)|
|All industries (3)||1.3%|
|Public administration (1)||1.4%|
Duration of collective agreements
- All three agreements settled in October had a duration of 48 months (Chart 3). This was higher than the average duration in the previous round of negotiations between the same bargaining parties (30 months).
|All jurisdiction (3)||48|
|Public administration (1)||48|
|All indusries (3)||48|
Major work stoppagesFootnote2
- Two major rotating strikes were reported in Quebec, involving a total of 2,706 employees, and resulting in 6,910 person days not worked (PDNW).
B. Innovative clauses in collective agreements
New clauses in collective agreements allow employers and unions to adapt to changing economic, working and social environments. The following clauses were reported:
- The Comité patronal de négociation for Commission scolaire Crie and Syndicat des professionnels en milieu scolaire du Nord-Ouest. The Commission scolaire Crie agrees to allow professional beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreements, five days of paid leave for hunting during the open season for Canada goose hunting for the duration of their agreements.
- Government of New Brunswick and Canadian Union of Public Employees: As part of the safety and health provision, “the employees required to work outdoors between the period of May 1st to September 30th shall be provided insect repellent, sunscreen and drinkable water, as required by WorksafeNB”.
C. Literature scan
The following studies related to labour and industrial relations were recently published:
- The Economic Policy Institute report Union decline lowers wages of non-union workers is a study of the effect of union density decline on the wages of non-union workers in the private sector in United States. Based on statistical estimation, the report argues that the decline in private-sector union membership has contributed to wage loss among workers not belonging to a union. The report also argues that high union density at the industrial and regional level positively impacts the wages of non-union workers.
- In a report titled Union Membership in the United States, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics examines historical trends in union membership among employed workers from 1983 to 2015 by a variety of demographic characteristics. By 2015, the union membership rate had declined to 11.1% from 20.1% in 1983. The public-sector unionization rate (35.2%) is five times higher than the private-sector rate (6.7%). Among states, in 2015, New York had the highest membership rate (24.3%), and North Carolina, the lowest (3.0%).
For previous issues of the Workplace Bulletin or for more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call 1-877-259-8828. Please use the above link to send us a copy of your collective agreement or memorandum of understanding or other documentation if you have a business unit that is either federally registered (with 100 or more employees) or provincially registered (with 500 or more employees).
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