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The Agenda Will Debate Conservative’s Labour Law Reform Ideas this Wednesday Night

I’m visiting at U of Toronto Law School and the Centre for Industrial Relations and HRM this year, and Professor Anil Verma just popped into my office to tell me he is on The Agenda with Steve Paikan tomorrow night, along with Tim Hudak, Ontario Conservative Party Boss, Charlotte Yates from McMaster, and perhaps others (not sure yet). They will be discussing and debating the Tories controversial labour law reforms. Those reforms include changing the laws so that unions would be required to represent workers who do not pay union dues (so-called “Right to Work” laws), and imposing restrictions on interest arbitrators’ discretion in crafting collective agreements.

Here is link to the video of the show.

The Conservatives argue that the ‘right to work’ laws would create jobs in Ontario.  I have explained earlier why I think that is nonsense, and that the real reason they want this law is to reduce union funds that are used to criticize the Tories during election campaigns.  Tim Hudak wants us to believe that Ontario would be re-industrialized, with loads of giant manufacturing factories flocking to Ontario, if only union dues were collected differently.  Ridiculous.  Those manufacturing jobs are gone, and they aren’t coming back.  Free trade ensures that, which by the way, was a policy pushed most aggressively by the Conservative Party. The Conservatives themselves claim that small business is driving the economy and creating new jobs.  Unionization in small businesses in Canada’s private sector is almost non-existent, so why would we expect that gutting labour laws will have any dramatic impact on job creation?  But that’s just my opinion, and Tim Hudak is not trying to persaude labour law professors like me.   He hopes enough people will buy want he’s selling, and maybe he’s right.  So let’s watch his salesmanship tomorrow night on The Agenda.

Do you buy the argument that making it more difficult for unions to collect their revenues will lead to a great influx of new jobs?

The changes to the interest arbitration process could reduce costs in the public sector, provided they are Constitutional.  A big IF on that point.  But, in any, event, thanks to the Tories and Liberals for keeping labour law on the front pages.  Makes for interesting labour law classes, for sure.  Check out the show.  I think it starts at 8 p.m. on TVO.


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