Labour Left Out
Canada's Failure to Protect and Promote Collective Bargaining as a Human Right

Adams, Roy J.
Publisher:  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  2006  
Pages:  152pp   Price:  $14.95  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8158

Abstract:  Roy Adams' book Labour Left Out deals with the Canadian government's disconnect between its formal recognition of an international human rights consensus that includes labour rights and how in fact the labour movement has been left out of it. While acknowledging that historically "oppressed" groups such as gays, lesbians, women and people of colour have made ground, collective bargaining rights coverage and the right to strike in both the public and private sectors has diminished. Adams cites the governments failure to accept the European norm of a social partnership between labour and capital, the view that unionization is the mark of poor management and the labour relation system which makes the union the sole bargaining agent of workers. Many workers are deterred by such an adversarial system. Adams proposes legislative solutions to these impasses including changes to labour laws that would support both certified and uncertified workers; governments would develop public information campaigns to educate workers as to their rights and unions would go beyond their narrow interests of "company" unions in favour of spreading industrial democracy. His analysis is based on the perspective of John Commons and the Webbs who believed that unions should have a voice in the workplace ending managerial dominance and striking a balance between employers and workers interests. Industrial democracy can preserve human dignity by preventing workers from being commodities. In so doing he sees workers and employers interests as fundamentally compatible and desirable-a commitment which takes a social democratic approach to the labour-capital relationship.

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