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Droits de la personne, relations de travail et défis pour les syndicats contemporains [r-libre/175]

Legault, Marie-Josée (2005). Droits de la personne, relations de travail et défis pour les syndicats contemporains. Relations Industrielles - Industrial Relations, 60 (4), 683-708.

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Item Type: Journal Articles
Refereed: Yes
Status: Published
Abstract: Les chartes des droits de la personne, les lois protégeant ces mêmes droits et la jurisprudence qu’elles engendrent provoquent des bouleversements dans les milieux de travail régis par le droit des rapports collectifs de travail et dans les règles de fonctionnement syndical. Les cas des femmes intégrant des secteurs d’emploi non traditionnellement féminins par le truchement des programmes d’accès à l’égalité et celui des associations regroupant les syndiqués contestant les effets des clauses « orphelin » sont ici utilisés pour illustrer la profondeur du choc entre les nouvelles règles fondées sur l’équité qu’introduisent les droits de la personne et les règles de l’égalité formelle entre syndiqués qui ont traditionnellement régi le fonctionnement syndical. - Since the 1980s, and even more so since the 1990s, European and North American researchers have been examining what is willingly referred to as a “crisis” in the union movement, in contrast to what was a fairly firm consensus on the unity and representative power of organized labour up until the late 1970s. Trouble in aggregating and recognizing common interests within both trade union locals and confederations has become fairly evident since this time. Some segmentation factors originate among the workers themselves or are appropriated and promoted by them. Notably, under human rights charters, human rights acts and the case law that result from them, some categories of labour demonstrate specific interests that are distinct from those of the larger group of unionized workers to which they belong, sometimes to the point of contesting what are regarded as important gains in union practices or certain union choices based on majority votes. Two relevant examples are members of target groups (in this case, women) hired through an affirmative action program (AAP), and employees paid under what are known as “orphan” clauses in Québec, as two-tiered wage systems otherwise. In fact, in a unionized setting, these demands upset a major political assumption, that of the formal equality of all union members and the corollary duty of treating them all the same, and specifically of giving them the same weight in collective decision making. These demands call into question the whole concept of union democracy, based as it is on the primacy of a majority vote in a general meeting. The charters, on the other hand, incorporate a line of reasoning and promote an approach based on equity with respect to targeted or designated groups, according to which it is sometimes necessary to take the inequality of the starting positions into account and to treat the individuals from different groups differently in order to give them equal chances of arriving at the finish line, until a situation of equality of results has been re-established. The two transformations in question here have several points in common in the challenge they present to union executive committees: they divide the wage-earning group, increase the number of intraunion conflict points, sometimes give rise to a disaffiliation movement and seek support in human rights. They also have in common the fact that they express (and I am exaggerating only slightly here) a new demand for “union citizenship” of marginal workers: women in traditionally male job categories, young people or victims of two-tiered wage scales; I could have added immigrants, persons with disabilities, etc.
Depositor: Legault, Marie-Josée
Owner / Manager: Marie-Josée Legault
Deposited: 24 Aug 2014 22:19
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2015 00:47

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