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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Labour strategy modelled on Manitoba’s “60 day rule” would resolve impasses in labour disputes

Labour strategy modelled on Manitoba’s “60 day rule” would resolve impasses in labour disputes

February 22nd, 2012
WINNIPEG – Today Paul Dewar received new labour endorsements and announced a proposal to restore workers' rights and provide new and fair provisions to end long-lasting labour disputes.
Under Dewar's plan, either party involved in a work stoppage impasse for more than 60 days could ask the Canada Industrial Relations Board to end the strike or lockout and impose binding arbitration.
“More and more, employers are abusing lockouts to force their demands on workers, and they're enabled by a Conservative government that has repeatedly interfered in the free collective bargaining process, essentially removing the right to strike and fixing the rules in favour of employers,” said Dewar. “It's time for innovative new rules that respect workers' rights and resolve impasses.”
Dewar has modelled his proposal on a provision introduced by the NDP government of Manitoba in 2000. By providing a fair and neutral mechanism to resolve deadlocked work stoppages after 60 days, the provision creates a strong incentive for both parties to negotiate in good faith from the beginning. Since implemented, the number of days lost to strikes and lockouts in Manitoba has fallen by more than 2/3 compared to the previous decade.
“Under my plan, management can no longer abandon the negotiation table with the hope of breaking the union members' will,” said Dewar. “They either stick with good faith negotiations or they go to binding arbitration.”
Dewar's plan (Restoring Workers’ Rights) to protect the rights of federally-regulated workers also includes:
Restoring free collective bargaining and ending government interference in negotiations
Reducing the length and divisiveness of work strikes and lockouts by banning the use of replacement workers
Reducing workplace injuries by rehiring the workplace safety inspectors cut by Harper
Reinstating the Federal Minimum Wage and moving toward a Living Wage Plan
Standing up for the rights of public service employees
Extending to federally regulated private workplaces the same language rights enjoyed by other Quebec workers
Enforcing the “Westray Bill” to hold accountable employers responsible for workplace deaths.
“Manitoba workers have benefitted from the ’60 day rule’ for more than a decade,” said Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour. “I look forward to seeing Prime Minister Dewar bring in this fair and neutral solution for deadlocked labour disputes at the national level.”
Paul Dewar’s leadership bid and labour strategy have already been endorsed by labour leaders across the country. Today Dewar’s candidacy received the new support of Larry Rousseau (Regional Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada in the National Capital Region) and Dave Sauer (President of Winnipeg Labour Council).
“This is an excellent proposal to protect workers' rights and help put Canada back on track as a truly progressive nation," said Larry Rousseau, Regional Executive Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada in the National Capital Region. "I support Paul for his leadership of the NDP because he has the ideas, the abilities and the leadership qualities that are needed to head up Canada's first social democratic government."“I endorse Paul Dewar as the next leader of Canada’s New Democrats because Paul has a solid plan to restore fundamental rights for the 1 million workers in federally regulated workplaces,” said Dave Sauer, President of the Winnipeg Labour Council.
“This is leadership Canadians are looking for,” said Dave Richie of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). “Paul understands the importance of free collective bargaining and strong unions, and he knows how to stand up to Stephen Harper.”

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