Workplace Bulletin – May 2015
Key negotiation activities
Several majorFootnote 1 negotiations were ongoing in May. Notable negotiation activities included the following:
- University of Alberta and the Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA): After exchanging opening proposals in November 2014, the parties reached an impasse over salary in March 2015 which continued through April. In May, the AASUA, representing approximately 4,000 academic staff, sent a letter to the Premier-Elect, Rachel Notley, asking the appointment of the Chairman of the University Board of Governors be rescinded after he publically commented on the provincial election campaign.
- City of London, Ontario and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Local 101): The contract covering 750 employees (administration, building inspections, bylaw enforcement, tourism, and road construction) expired on December 31, 2014. Talks between the City and CUPE collapsed during the weekend of May 23-24 and workers began a strike on May 25. The main issues were work hours, contracting out, and retiree benefits. The strike, which continued throughout the remainder of May, is the first strike by the inside workers in London since 1979.
- In May, eleven major collective bargaining negotiations were settled, covering 31,890 employees. Six of these settlements were reached through direct bargaining, two through mediation, two through arbitration, and one through bargaining after a work stoppage.
- Seven agreements were settled in the public sector for 18,140 employees. Four agreements were reached in the private sector, covering 13,750 employees [Chart 1A].
- All 11 settlements were concluded in provincial jurisdictions.
- Three settlements were reached in each of the industries of construction; education, health, and social services (EHSS); and public administration (Chart 1B).
Text description of Chart 1A: Collective bargaining settlements by jurisdiction, May 2015
|Jurisdiction||Number of Agreements|
|Public Sector||Private Sector|
Text description of Chart 1B: Collective bargaining settlements by industry, May 2015
|Industry||Number of Agreements|
|Public Sector||Private Sector|
|Wholesale and retail trade||0||1|
- Among major collective bargaining settlements reached in May, the average annual base-rateFootnote 2 wage adjustment (over the duration of the contracts) was 1.6% (Chart 2A).
- In its most recent Monetary Policy Report, the Bank of Canada forecasts that inflation will grow by 1.9% in 2015, 2.5% in 2016, and by 2.0% in 2017.Footnote 3 Many employees covered by settlements reached in May could therefore find their real wage shrinking over the duration of their contracts.
- The average wage increase negotiated in May (1.6%) was much lower than the average negotiated in the previous round of negotiations between the same parties (2.3%).
- The highest average wage increase (2.3%) was negotiated in two separate agreements in Manitoba in the education, health, and social services industry. The lowest (0.9%) was negotiated by the Université de Sherbrooke and the Syndicat des chargées et chargés de cours de l'Université de Sherbrooke.
- For the third consecutive month, the average wage adjustment in the public sector (1.5%) was lower than the average in the private sector (1.7%).
- Among all jurisdictions, Manitoba recorded the highest average wage adjustment (2.3%) in a single collective agreement covering 550 employees.
- Among industries, the wholesale and retail trade received the highest average wage gain (2.3%) while utilities received the lowest (1.0%) (Chart 2B).
Text description of Chart 2A: Wage adjustments by jurisdiction, May 2015
|Jurisdiction||Wage adjustment (percentage)|
Text description of Chart 2B: Wage adjustments by industry, May 2015
|Wholesale and retail trade||2.3%|
- The average duration of agreements reached in May was 43.0 months [Chart 3A]. Contrary to the two previous months, the average contract duration was shorter in the public sector (39.8 months) than in the private sector (47.3 months).
- The average duration of agreements recorded in May (43.0 months) was longer than that recorded in the previous round of negotiations between these same bargaining parties (37.6 months).
- In May, the City of Ottawa and Canadian Union of Public Employees negotiated the shortest contract (24.0 months) while the Université de Sherbrooke and the Syndicat des chargées et chargés de cours de l'Université de Sherbrooke ratified the longest (82.0 months).
Text description of Chart 3A: Duration of agreements by jurisdiction, May 2015
Text description of Chart 3B: Duration of agreements by industry, May 2015
|Wholesale and retail trade||35.9|
Major work stoppages
- In May, four majorFootnote 4 work stoppages, involving 8,122 employees, resulted in 81,070 person days not worked (PDNW). All of the work stoppages were reported in provincial jurisdictions.
- One of the work stoppages in May was a continuation of the strike involving 1,356 secondary school teachers at the Durham District School Board that started in April.
- The remaining three stoppages involved 3,016 teachers of Peel District School Board in Ontario, 3,000 employees of Université du Québec à Montréal, and 750 employees of the City of London, respectively.
- Since the beginning of 2015, 11 work stoppages were reported, involving 21,629 employees and resulting in a total of 187,550 PDNW. Compared to the same time period last year, these numbers are significantly higher. From January to May 2014, only three work stoppages were reported, involving 43,800 employees for a total of 52,590 PDNW.
- The International Labour Organization explores global patterns of employment in their World Employment Social Outlook: The changing nature of jobs. The research, which includes employment data from over 180 countries, identifies a global decrease in the number of workers employed in stable, full‑time jobs. The report discusses the impact of the changing nature of work in the following contexts: poverty and income inequality; social protection coverage; labour regulation; and changes in global production patterns. Among other key findings, the report notes that the decrease in “standard employment” has contributed to a shortage of global demand, lower economic output, and growing income inequality.
- In its report The Union Card: A Ticket Into Middle Class Stability, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives examines the impact of declining rates of unionization in Canada on the mobility of the middle class. The report provides data and analysis on unionization and income from the past 30 years, including comparisons between the public and private sectors. Based on the analysis, the authors present several findings, including: unionized workers are more likely to be found in middle and upper-middle income brackets; and unionized workers are more likely to maintain their income during a recession.
- Authors Baert, Cockx, Gheyle, and Vandamme explore the relationship between hiring discrimination and labour market tightness in their article “Is there Less Discrimination in Occupations where Recruitment is Difficult?”, published in the May issue of the ILR Review (Volume 68, Issue 3). The article, which includes a full description of the authors’ methodology and analysis, concludes that when vacancies are difficult to fill, candidates with foreign‑ or native_sounding names are equally likely to be invited to a job interview. However, when the occupation is not in high demand, candidates with foreign-sounding names have to send out twice as many applications.
For more information, please contact the Workplace Information and Research Division or call us at 1-877-259-8828. Please use the above link to send us the memorandum of understanding or other documentation if you have a business unit either federally registered (with 100 or more employees) or provincially registered (with 500 or more employees) and a collective bargaining agreement is reached.
Note: This bulletin is based on May 2015 data/information, which was collected up to June 17, 2015. Work stoppage data was collected up to June 26, 2015.
- Footnote 1
All data reported in this bulletin relates to major collective agreements covering 500 or more employees across Canada.
- Footnote 2
The base wage rate is the lowest paid classification used for qualified employees in the bargaining unit.
- Footnote 3
Bank of Canada, Monetary Policy Report Summary (April 2015).
- Footnote 4
Major work stoppages involve 500 employees or more. Work stoppage data for May includes preliminary data only from the province of Ontario.
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