Thursday, December 18, 2008

Labour experts side against city

Both the union and the City are willing to restart negotiations in just a couple of days. In the meantime, the Citizen reflects on both sides' attitudes toward negotiations. The paper quotes two labour experts who believe that the City's hard-line stance on negotiations has been detrimental to both parties reaching eventual agreement.
Rosemary Waskett, chairwoman of the law department at Carleton University and an expert on public-sector labour relations. "The union feels now that this is being shoved down their throats. When this happens, it turns into a dignity and respect issue. It's very hard for a union to back down completely on issue like that. There needs to be a way out."
And from Saskatchewan:

Alan Levy, an assistant professor in the University of Regina's business department who specializes in labour relations, said the situation shows "stunted thinking" on both sides.

"The mayor has no business getting involved in this like that," Mr. Levy said. "Why politicize this? Why not allow the people you hired to do this, the labour relations people, do their jobs?

"This blaming is not going to accomplish anything. It's dysfunctional to the collective bargaining process. What's needed is level-headed people to come forward to find creative ways to reach an agreement. If the politicians were shrewd, they'd stay out of this."

Levy came up with one potential compromise to the scheduling issue that has, thus far, devastated negotiations.

Mr. Levy said the solution could be a experimental period allowing the city to do the scheduling, with a deadline to show the city's way works and is good for drivers. Ms. Waskett said the city and union could agree to the status quo for now while a scheduling alternative is worked on.

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