“No layoffs for newspaper workers.”
No, this is not an embellished headline from a tabloid. This comes from the Canadian Labour Reporter: “Winnipeg Free Press workers ratify new agreements with no layoff clause.”
Why is this so shocking to the labour relations world? It’s because no layoff clauses are very rare in any collective agreement. No employer wants to be obligated to keep employees when they have no work available. Even more shocking is the fact that this no layoff clause is in the traditional newspaper industry, which has been in significant decline (with large layoffs) since the invention of the Internet.
Unifor, the union that negotiated the no layoff clause, is claiming it as a huge win for their members. (click here to read Unifor’s news release)
Is it a true win for the union and its members? In reality, it is only a two-year deal, so the employees do get job security but only for two years, what happens after that? Who knows? In addition, in this new collective agreement there was no wage increases for the employees but the union was able to stabilize the workers’ pension and that is a big win.
This Unifor deal may not be the most lucrative collective agreement ever. However, it is a very interesting event that may have an impact on other collective bargaining negotiations in other industries. Keep posted.
Research other collective agreements to see if they have a “no layoff” clause. Are they in the public sector or the private sector?
In future negotiations, do you see Unifor being successful in adding a “no layoff” clause with other employers in other industries? Why or why not? Defend your argument.