April 1, 2021

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Upcoming Events and Webinars 

Annual Arnold Amber Memorial Lecture: This event, sponsored by CWA Canada and featuring Jane McAlevey, Senior Policy Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center, is named in honour of Arnold Amber, first president of CWA Canada. The annual lecture focuses on subjects relevant to Amber, for him, being a union leader was part of a greater movement for social and economic justice, freedom of the press, and responsible, caring and transparent democracy.
When: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 12:00PM - 2:00 PM ET
Where: Online

Click here to register.

Livestream: Heather McGhee on "The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together"Join the Institute for Gender and the Economy at Rotman (GATE) for a discussion with economic and social policy expert Heather McGhee about her book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. 
When: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM ET
Where: Online
Click here to register.

Understanding and Implementing Bill C-65: Clarifying new obligations, applying emerging best practices
Join Lancaster House for this session, led by nationally recognized experts Blaine Donais and Michelle Phaneuf of the Workplace Fairness Institute as well as experienced legal counsel, focused on providing workplace parties with the guidance they need to prevent and respond to workplace violence and harassment in accordance with their new legal obligations. The session will also address providing support to those adversely affected by violence and/or harassment.
When: Wednesday, April 7, and Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM ET
Where: Online via Zoom
Click here to register. 

Examining the Exception: 
Dealing with bad faith allegations of bullying, harassment, and misconduct: Hosted by Lancaster House, in this webinar experts will provide practical guidance on recognizing and responding effectively to bad faith allegations of bullying, harassment, or misconduct with a view to preventing disruption and protecting individuals who are falsely accused.
When: Thursday, April 8, 2021, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Where: Online

Click here to register.

Labour Relations Outlook Webinar 2021: A Year of Recovery: The Labour Relations Outlook 2021 will explore the economic, compensation, and negotiating environments in which labour relations leaders will find themselves heading into bargaining in 2021.
When: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 2:00 PM ET
Where: Online

Click here to register.

Fighting Apartheid: The SACTU Solidarity Committee in TorontoIn 1980, the South African Congress of Trade Unions requested the authors of its official history, Organize or Starve, to return to Canada to build anti-apartheid solidarity through SACTU within the Canadian trade union movement. The 1980s work of education, research and action took place in Toronto and indeed throughout the country and this session brings together original members of the SACTU Solidarity Committee to elaborate on Canadian workers’ contribution to the struggle.
When: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 7:00 PM TO 8:30 PM ET
Where: Online via Zoom

"The Death of Human Capital?" Virtual Seminar: Join the Centre for Researching Education and Labour from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg for this seminar, as part of the REAL Seminar Series Event. Speaker Hugh Lauder will discuss his book, The Death of Human Capital?.
When: Thursday, April 14, 2021 10:00 AM ET
Where: Online via Zoom
Click here to register.

CIRA Webinar Series: The academic researcher and her / his questions about race, gender and intersectionality: Tamara Lee
and Maite Tapia, will discuss how as academic researchers they address questions around race, gender and intersectionality. 
When: Thursday, April 15, 2021 11:00 AM ET
Where: Online via Zoom

Registration is not required.

Call for Papers and Nominations

Call for nominations for the Canadian Freedom of Association Award: The call for nominations for the 2021 Canadian Freedom of Association Award is now open. This award is presented annually “to a person or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to promoting understanding of and compliance with international standards regarding the right to organize and bargain collectively as those standards apply to Canada”. Please send your nomination proposal along with a short text stating why you believe your nominee should be awarded the Canadian Freedom of Association Award to CIRA ( before April 7th  2021.

The First CLEF Awards Call for SubmissionsThe Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF) announces its first CLEF Award, this year offered to the best paper written by a Canadian student or recent graduate. The aim of the competition is to recognize and support excellence in early-career research in labour economics. Submission deadline is April 9, 2021.
Click here for more information and submission requirements.

ILERA Call for Nominations: President-elect and Executive Committee Members: The next President-elect of ILERA will assume the role as President at the conclusion of the 20th ILERA World Congress in 2024, and serve a three-year-term and be responsible for the organisation of the 21st ILERA World Congress in 2027. Letters of nominations should be accompanied by the nominee’s résumé/curriculum vitae or by a substantial account of the accomplishments of the nominee, including his/her engagement in ILERA, and should be sent to the ILERA Secretariat at
President-elect and Executive Committee nominations are due by April 23, 2021.

ILERA Award Nominations: If you think you know somebody that deserves one of these awards please send a letter or nomination accompanied by the nominee’s résumé/curriculum vitae or by a substantial accounts of the accomplishments of the nominee and should be sent to the ILERA Secretariat at
Luis Aparicio Prize
Academic Excellence Award
Professional Excellence Award
Please click here for more information on each award.

Award nominations are due by April 23, 2021.

Work in the Global Economy (WGE) Call for Papers: Work in the Global Economy (WGE) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that promotes understanding of work, and connections to work, in all forms and dimensions. This can mean a focus on labour processes, labour markets, labour organising and labour reproduction. The journal is associated with, and rooted in, the traditions of the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) and published by Bristol University Press. WGE welcomes submissions for Research Articles (up to 8000 words in length). 
Click here for more information and submission requirements. 

Upcoming Publications and Conferences

National Human Rights and Accommodation Conference: Join Lancaster House in their annual conference, including panels and workshops.
When: Tuesday, May 18 & Thursday, May 20 (Panels) and Tuesday, May 25 & Thursday, May 27 (Workshops)
Click here to register.

CIRA Annual Conference: The Annual Conference of the
Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) will take place virtually Wednesday May 26, 2021 to Friday May, 28, 2021.
Topic: "Work and employment in times of crisis: what are the impacts, management issues, and recovery strategies?"

LERA 73rd Annual Meeting: The Labor and Employment Relations Association's (LERA) 73rd Annual Meeting will take place virtually Saturday June 5, 2021 to Tuesday June 8, 2021
Topic: "A Transformational Moment? Work, Worker Power and the Workplace in an Era of Division and Disruption"
Registration is now open! Click here to register.

19th ILERA World Congress: The 19th ILERA World Congress hosted by Lund University will take place virtually from June 21st to June 24th, 2021
Registration is now open! Click here to register.

PWR: work&labour news&research

Labour Unions

Labour Economics

Human Resource Management

Health & Safety

The Future of Work

Labour Unions


Landmark Deals for Women’s Soccer in U.K. — Why Can’t We Do the Same for Women’s Hockey Here?

“Next week will mark two years since the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded, taking down what was at the time the professional home for most of the elite players in the world. It’s been 22 months since those players formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association [PWHPA], an organization pushing for a proper league, one with actual resources and wages that would allow young women to pursue a pro hockey career in the same way that young men do.”

“The Women’s Super League, based in England, is the deepest league in the world for professional female footballers, and it includes familiar Olympians from both Europe and North America. Born out of the ashes of a different league a decade ago, it began as a semi-professional outfit with only the top players earning much in the way of salary. Questions about the future of women’s soccer there were the same as those about women’s hockey here: Would anyone watch? Would anyone pay? Three years ago, the WSL began requiring every player on each team to be on a real pro contract.”

“The 12 teams are not just affiliated with famous men’s clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, they operate under the same name, crest and kit. Two years ago, Barclays, the banking giant, signed on as title sponsor at a cost that is reportedly north of $15-million a year. And just last week, the WSL announced a three-year broadcast deal with the BBC and Sky Sports that will pay it more than $13-million a year. The sponsorship and TV deals are landmark moments, giving the WSL serious revenue streams and proving that the women’s game does not merely exist because wealthy parent clubs have some leftover money to throw its way. It’s also not an overstatement to say that a young girl just starting to show a talent for soccer, even one who lives in Canada, now has a real chance at having a truly professional career.”

“The same cannot be said for hockey. There are complicated reasons for this, but the plain fact remains that the PWHPA has been saying for years now that the women’s game needs to be supported and not enough support has been forthcoming. … The corporate partners who invest millions in the National Hockey League — they sold the naming rights to the bloody divisions this season — could support a nascent women’s league for a relative pittance. Rogers and Bell, which have made laudable efforts toward improving the diversity of their sports properties, nevertheless have hours and hours of empty-calorie programming on their networks, only a tiny sliver of which would be required to give the women’s game a massive signal boost. And what of the CBC? It still leases its public airwaves to Rogers for use on Hockey Night in Canada, and meanwhile the one women’s league in this country went out of business while desperate for regular television exposure.”

The National Post, March 26, 2021: “Scott Stinson: Landmark deals for women’s soccer in U.K. — why can’t we do the same for women’s hockey here?,” by Scott Stinson

PWHPA, February 26, 2021: “PWHPA Rallies the Sports Community to Put a #stickintheground in Support of the Best Women’s Hockey Players in the World”

PWHPA, March 18, 2021: “St. Louis Blues Partner with PWHPA to Host 2021 Secret Dream Gap Tour Showcase Presented Locally by Centene Corporation”

Kempe-Bergman, M., Larsson, H., & Redelius, K. (2020). The sceptic, the cynic, the women’s rights advocate and the constructionist: male leaders and coaches on gender equity in sport. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics12(3), 333-347, DOI: 10.1080/19406940.2020.1767678 (16 pages, PDF)

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Challenges Facing Agricultural Workers

“In California, union organizers can temporarily access an agricultural employer’s property outside of work hours in order to talk to farmworkers about their legally protected right to join a union. Two agricultural employers, however, contend that the regulation allowing that access is equivalent to an uncompensated and unconstitutional ‘taking’ of their property and should therefore be struck down. On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this dispute: In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, two agricultural employers are challenging the 1975 California regulation that allows union representatives to visit private farms. The case could have implications for union organizing across the country.”

“Farmworkers are employed in one of the most hazardous and lowest paying jobs in the entire U.S. labor market, a fact that isn’t often mentioned in the mainstream coverage. …[F]armworkers suffer very high rates of wage and hour violations, yet the number of inspections of agricultural employers has been cut in half in recent years… In addition, a majority of farmworkers either lack an immigration status and fear retaliation and deportation, or they are migrant workers who have a precarious and employer-contingent immigration status such as an H-2A visa, a temporary visa that ties them and indentures them to one employer—meaning that if they lose their job or their status, they become deportable. … Being part of a union, however, would help ensure that their rights are protected and give them the freedom to speak up about employer lawbreaking.”

“…[W]hile the agricultural employers in question—along with their supporters like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and right-wing and libertarian groups—are arguing that the California regulation is an unlawful violation of their private property rights (in legal jargon, a “taking”), the regulation already greatly restricts the time, duration, and purpose of the access to the employer’s property. Union organizers must give advance notice to the employers, there are limits on how many organizers can be present on the property, and organizers may not disrupt the business operations of the employer.”

Economic Policy Institute, March 23, 2021: “Agricultural employers are asking the Supreme Court to make it harder for farmworkers suffering from poor pay and working conditions to unionize,” by Daniel Costa

SCOTUS Blog, March 22, 2021: “Justices try to draw lines in California property-rights dispute,” by Amy Howe

Vox, March 22, 2021: “The Supreme Court confronts a union-busting argument that’s too radical even for Kavanaugh,” by Ian Millhiser

The Farmer Shortage in Canada

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted fundamental gaps in our agricultural system. For the first time in generations, many Canadians saw empty grocery store shelves and became acutely aware of the challenges facing our domestic food system. What followed were COVID-19 outbreaks on farms and meat processing plants and temporary foreign workers who were delayed and stranded. The pandemic highlights vulnerabilities in Canada’s food supply-chain and the importance of a resilient agricultural sector. A central challenge to increase sustainability is the looming agricultural labour shortage, a problem that was on the rise long before the pandemic. Simply put, there are not enough farmers. There is a lot at stake.”

Action Canada, 2021: Growing the Next Crop of Canadian Farmers, by Jean-Sebastien Blais, Chardaye Bueckert, Phil De Luna, and Melana Roberts, (44 pages, PDF)

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President Biden and Unions

“Two months into the new administration, labor leaders are proclaiming Joseph R. Biden Jr. to be the most union-friendly president of their lifetime — and ‘maybe ever,’ as Steve Rosenthal, a former political director for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., said in an interview. … Yet Mr. Rosenthal and other labor advocates confess to a gnawing anxiety: Despite Mr. Biden’s remarkable support for their movement, unions may not be much better off when he leaves office than when he entered it.”

“That’s because labor law gives employers considerable power to fend off union organizing, which is one reason that union membership has sunk to record lows in recent decades. And Senate Republicans will seek to thwart any legislative attempts — such as the PRO Act, which the House passed this month — to reverse the trend. … Under current law, employers can inundate workers with anti-union messages — through mandatory meetings, email, signs in the workplace — while unions often have trouble gaining access to workers. And though it is technically illegal to threaten or fire workers who take part in an organizing campaign, employers face minimal punishment for doing so.”

“The PRO Act would outlaw mandatory anti-union meetings, enact financial penalties for threatening or firing workers and help wrongly terminated workers win quick reinstatement. It would also give unions leverage by allowing them to engage in secondary boycotts — say, asking customers to boycott restaurants that buy food from a bakery they are trying to unionize. … Even with the legal protections envisioned under the PRO Act, however, it will be hard for unions to make large-scale gains in coverage, many experts say. Labor law often effectively requires workers to win union elections one work site at a time, which could mean hundreds of separate elections at Amazon alone. … And the PRO Act’s chances for enactment are remote so long as opponents have recourse to the Senate filibuster, which effectively requires 60 votes to pass legislation.”

The New York Times, March 25, 2021: “Biden May Be the Most Pro-Labor President Ever; That May Not Save Unions,” by Noam Scheiber

Economic Policy Institute, March 18, 2021: “Three reasons why the PRO Act won’t destroy freelancing or the gig economy,” by Eve Tahmincioglu

National Review, March 11, 2021: “PRO? Con”

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Labour Economics


H&M Faces Backlash in China for Stand Against Forced Labour

“The headline in the Beijing Daily was as stark as it was strident: ‘A full-scale yanking from the shelves for H&M! How many brands out there still hold the delusion of eating Chinese food while smashing the Chinese pot?’ Almost immediately, the digital shelves were empty of the Swedish clothing store’s goods, with the brand vanishing from China’s biggest e-commerce sites, including Taobao and A tidal wave of social media posts condemned H&M for its year-old stand against forced labour and its commitment to avoid the use of products from China’s Xinjiang region, which produces a fifth of the world’s cotton and has been accused of forcing ethnic minorities to pick it by hand.”

“Soon, the online mob turned on other brands that have publicly denounced forced labour in statements about Xinjiang: Nike, Adidas, Fila, Gap, New Balance, Under Armour and others.It marked one of China’s most stinging rebukes of foreign brands, a retaliatory campaign almost certain to draw financial blood and instill terror into companies that must now choose between ethical choices regarding the use of forced labour and preserving their bottom lines in the vast Chinese market.”

“Chinese authorities have denied allegations of forced labour, saying people sign employment contracts and are paid for their work.But late last year, the Better Cotton Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving working conditions and the environmental impact of cotton production, suspended approval of cotton from Xinjiang based on human-rights concerns.In January, the United States banned all products made with cotton from Xinjiang, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection saying it had found a series of forced labour indicators, including debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions.The Canadian government has also banned the import of all products produced by forced labour.”

The Globe and Mail, March 25, 2021: “‘It’s a warning shot’: H&M faces backlash in China over year-old stand against forced labour,” by Nathan VanderKlippe

The Conversation, March 23, 2021: “How to engage with China over its treatment of Uyghurs,” by Reza Hasmath

Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 3, 2021: Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, by Amy K. Lehr (59 pages, PDF)

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In 25 Years, the Pay Gap Has Shrunk by Just 8 Cents

“What is Equal Pay Day? It’s a symbolic day that illustrates how far into the current year American women would need to work to earn what their male counterparts earned last year. Put another way, because there is a disparity in what women and men are paid, women would need to work around 448 days to earn what men earn in just 365 days. Race plays a part, too: For Black and Hispanic women, the numbers are worse. For Asian women, the numbers skew a bit better. Estimates vary on how much the wage gap will cost an American woman over the course of her career. The National Women’s Law Center puts it at $406,280 in lost income on average, but that number can top $1 million for Hispanic women and is just shy of $1 million for Black and Native American women.“

“So what exactly explains the gap? There are many factors at play, according to the American Association of University Women. One of them is that the fields in which women dominate tend to pay less than fields dominated by men. This is irrespective of education or skill required.The ‘motherhood penalty’ also complicates the wage gap. Moms are less likely to be hired, they receive lower salaries when they are, and are less likely to be tapped on the shoulder for promotion. (Ironic given research suggests moms are some of the most productive employees.) And women work around two-thirds of the low-paying jobs in the United States; jobs that not only put workers at an economic disadvantage, but also tend to be more unstable.There is also “invisible labor” — things like caregiving responsibilities and household chores — that women do in addition to their full-time work…There’s also good old-fashioned sexism at play: Even when men and women are performing the exact same jobs, women tend to receive less compensation thanks to overt or unconscious biases, as well as stereotypes that make it more difficult for women to negotiate.The pay gap is caused by a ‘layering effect’ of all of these things, said Kimberly Churches, the CEO of the American Association of University Women. Ultimately, ‘this really is how we value women and how we value women of color in our society,’ she said.”

The New York Times, March 24, 2021: “In 25 Years, the Pay Gap Has Shrunk by Just 8 Cents,” by Francesca Donner and Emma Goldberg

National Women’s Law Center, March 16, 2021: The Wage Gap Has Robbed Women of Their Ability to Weather COVID-19, by Jasmine Tucker (6 pages, PDF)

Catalyst, March 23, 2021: Women’s Earnings – The Pay Gap: Quick Take

Parliament of Canada, March 2021: FEWO Committee Report: Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women

OECD Data: Gender wage gap

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The Pandemic Stalls Growth in the Global Middle Class, Pushes Poverty Up Sharply

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a deep effect on the global economy. … The economic downturn is likely to have diminished living standards around the world, pushing millions out of the global middle class and swelling the ranks of the poor. At the same time, the path to a recovery is clouded with uncertainties. A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that the global middle class encompassed 54 million fewer people in 2020 than the number projected prior to the onset of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of poor is estimated to have been 131 million higher because of the recession.”

“The drop-off in the global middle class was centered in South Asia and in East Asia and the Pacific, and it stalled the expansion seen in the years preceding the pandemic. South Asia, specifically India, along with Sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for most of the increase in poverty, reversing years of progress on this front. As defined in this report (and in previous Pew Research Center analyses), people who are middle income live on $10.01-$20 a day, which translates to an annual income of about $14,600 to $29,200 for a family of four. This is modest by the standards of advanced economies. In fact, it straddles the official poverty line in the United States – about $23,000 for a family of four in 2020 (expressed in 2011 prices). By global standards, the poor live on $2 or less a day, or no more than $2,920 annually for a family of four.”

“Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, some 1.38 billion people were expected to be counted in the global middle class in 2020. But the pandemic is estimated to have driven this number down to 1.32 billion. The share of people in the middle class globally is estimated to have been 17.1% in 2020, instead of potentially 17.8%. The erosion in the middle class might have been deeper if not for the fact that China – which is home to more than one-third of the global middle class – evaded an economic contraction, even though growth there was slower than anticipated. … The reversal in global living standards in 2020 comes on the heels of notable progress earlier in the decade. From 2011 to 2019, the global middle-class population increased from 899 million to 1.34 billion, or by 54 million people annually, on average. The pandemic is estimated to have erased a year of growth, leaving the global middle-class population nearly unchanged from 2019 to 2020.”

Pew Research Center, March 18, 2021: “The Pandemic Stalls Growth in the Global Middle Class, Pushes Poverty Up Sharply,” by Rakesh Kochhar 

The World Bank, January 2021: Global Economic Prospects: Subdued Global Economic Recovery

International Monetary Fund, January 2021: World Economic Outlook Update: Policy Support and Vaccines Expected to Lift Activity

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Human Resource Management


The 10 Factors That Fuel a Resilient Workforce

“For businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically highlighted the importance of a resilient workforce. As the pandemic has challenged businesses, it’s also challenged the wellbeing of their employees, not just in terms of their physical health but their mental and financial wellness as well. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of employee resilience. Their view isn’t just a short-term perspective as they navigate the pandemic and bring workers back to the workplace. More and more, they are recognizing that employee resilience is a critical element of long-term business success.”

“Resilience requires a culture of support, self-awareness and responsibility in which the employer provides employees with the environment and tools needed to help manage their health and wellbeing, Kaur says. The Rising Resilient report found that 88 percent of resilient employees agree that their employer enables them to take care of their personal needs, compared with only 37 percent of nonresilient employees. While those tools can address a variety of employees’ wellbeing issues, resilience puts workers in charge of their own wellbeing. An employer’s wellbeing program should address all the aspects of wellbeing: physical, social, emotional, professional and financial. And taking this further to build a resilient workforce, Aon has found that it comes down to focusing on 10 factors, outlined in its Rising Resilient report.”

  1. “Encouraging health-positive behaviors
  2. Protecting physical health
  3. Delivering clarity and purpose
  4. Operating with compassion and engaging community
  5. Supporting mental health in the modern day
  6. Fostering adaptable skills
  7. Sharing responsibility and control
  8. Developing financial security
  9. Embracing inclusivity
  10. Understanding and managing employee expectations”

The One Brief, March 24, 2021: “The 10 Factors That Fuel a Resilient Workforce”

AON, 2020: The Rising Resilient: How workforce resilience will enable businesses to thrive (45 pages, PDF)

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Companies Must Do More to Respect Diverse Names, Identities, Experts Say

“When Janani Shanmuganathan was in law school, she remembers hearing some misguided professional advice. ‘You should take your husband’s name,’ Ms. Shanmuganathan recalls someone telling her, because her own name was hard to pronounce. Her colleague speculated it would make it harder to get clients. Ms. Shanmuganathan says she remembers being angered by the comment, not only because she was proud of her name, but because it is spelled phonetically – and she doesn’t mind helping people who ask her how it’s pronounced. Plus, she says, she wants up-and-coming lawyers to see Tamil women represented in the law community.”

“Ms. Shanmuganathan has indeed faced professional challenges over time. She says that it was not uncommon for a judge to refer to other lawyers by name, but refer to her only as ‘counsel,’ and her racialized client as ‘the accused,’ raising questions about differential treatment from clients and their families. … Research suggests that ‘whitened’ names have historically made job candidates more likely to be hired. But as many employers claim to be changing course and trying to attract diverse talent, experts say companies must also do more to respect whatever name a worker chooses to identify with. Ms. Shanmuganathan wrote about her experiences with her race, including being mistaken for the interpreter in court, in a publication sent out to other criminal lawyers. Her assessment – which described courts skirting around her name as one of many symptoms of bias in the legal system – resonated with people.”

“Prof. [Sonia] Kang [Canada research chair in identity, diversity and inclusion at the University of Toronto] says that the pressure for people to ‘whiten’ their names in many industries can stem from discrimination that begins as early as the hiring process. Résumés with whitened first names and extracurricular experiences led to more callbacks than the unwhitened résumés for both Black and Asian applicants, according to a paper Prof. Kang co-authored. Similar findings have been repeated in multiple studies. ‘When I’m talking to hiring managers about this – put aside for a second discrimination, which we know exists, for sure. But some of the time, the reason that they might not call someone is because they don’t want to offend them by saying their name wrong,’ Prof. Kang says. ‘It’s this kind of benevolent racism.’”

The Globe and Mail, March 28, 2021: “Companies must do more to respect diverse names, identities, experts say,” by Anita Balakrishnan 

Administrative Science Quarterly, March 2016: Whitened Résumés: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market by Sonia Kang, Katherine DeCelles, Andras Tilcsik, and Sora Jun (34 pages, PDF)

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Gen-Z Unwilling to Work Day and Night for Banks

“Investment banks have a new problem on their hands: Gen-z graduates less willing to become slaves to the corporate machine than the generations that went before them. A leaked survey by Goldman Sachs detailing the grim realities of being a junior banker has sent shock waves through the financial services industry, leaving executives and HR departments scrambling to keep junior staff on side. Often regarded as one of the main ways to earn the respect of bosses on Wall Street, the newest generation of bankers and lawyers appears to have less appetite to put up with the “inhumane” long hours — in many cases, favouring a better work-life balance over pay rises.”

“The spotlight shone on the work practices at Goldman has led some students with plans to pursue a high finance career questioning their decisions. One incoming graduate at a major London investment bank says they are now worried they will be forced to work ‘insane’ hours, adding that a good work-life balance is more important to them than a hefty paycheque. ‘Your career is really an important part of your adult life and I want to enjoy it instead of feeling pushed to do something I don’t really like,’ they say.”

“This leaves firms with a headache. How do they retain talent and keep junior staff happy while continuing to manage record deal flows and post bumper profits? The response has broadly fallen into three categories: give junior staff extra time off, more money or a new toy.”

National Post, March 27, 2021: “Gen-Z Unwilling to Work Day and Night for Banks,” by Simon Foy

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, February 2021: Working Conditions Survey

CFA Institute, May 2019: Investment Professional of the Future: Changing Roles, Skills, and Organizational Cultures (44 pages, PDF)

Global Workplace Insider, March 25, 2021: “The Right To Disconnect,” by Maartje Govaert, Annette van Beers and Christine Daniels

The Canadian Perspective 

“You might think they’re overpaid whiners. Or you could consider that the bankers are all of us at the end of a year that nobody asked for. Our eyes are blurred from staring at colleagues’ tiny faces on Zoom calls. Our backs are sore from hours sitting on kitchen chairs, while the figures on a spreadsheet do a meaningless dance. We look up from an e-mail and realize that it is 8 p.m., but are unsure whether it’s Wednesday or Saturday, the banker’s sabbath. The e-mails don’t care; they keep coming. For the past year, concern has been concentrated on front-line and essential workers, as it should be. They’re bearing the brunt of this disaster. But at the same time, a shadow crisis is spreading across the kitchen tables and home offices of the land, where, as my colleagues Tim Kiladze and Tamsin McMahon recently reported, ‘white collar professionals are cracking.’”

“The abrupt switch to working from home last March came with certain unexpected gifts. Some people no longer had a horrible commute, and could be more available for their children’s needs. On the other hand, home was no longer a refuge from work. It became a work annex, as if you’d unfurled a futon in the break room where your co-workers abandoned their lunch Tupperware. Technology was already blurring the line between home life and work life before the pandemic hit, and suddenly it disappeared altogether. As Morneau Shepell reported in its December Canadian Mental Health Index, people are feeling stressed, and stuck: Nearly half of Canadians didn’t take all their vacation last year.”

“Could the answer involve giving people the legal right to disconnect from their workplaces for a set period of time, such as overnight or on weekends? The European Parliament thinks so. It recently voted to recommend a right-to-disconnect law be passed for its member states, saying: ‘Although working from home has been instrumental in helping safeguard employment and business during the COVID-19 crisis, the combination of long working hours and higher demands also leads to more cases of anxiety, depression, burnout and other mental and physical health issues.’ But the idea of a mandated right to ignore your gung-ho boss and your needy colleagues is a tricky one. France has had such a law since 2016, and there have been criticisms that it is too vague and unworkable to be truly effective. …  We are no longer living in a 9-to-5 world with one landline on a table in the hall. Instead it recommended that employers have to be much clearer about what parts of a job constitute paid work.”

The Globe and Mail, March 27, 2021: “Sorry I can’t talk, boss. It’s the weekend,” by Elizabeth Renzetti

Morneau Shepell, December 2020: The Mental Health Index report Canada (31 pages, PDF)

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Health & Safety


Reform of Quebec’s Workplace Health-and-Safety Regime: “Social Partnership” or Class Struggle?

“Last January, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ – National Institute of Public Health) published a report on non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). … Every year over a million Quebecers – one in four, and a majority of women – are afflicted with MSDs, which are associated with more than five million lost workdays. Immigrants and low-income workers are more at risk of being absent from work because of MSDs, among other reasons ‘because of their greater exposure to certain unstable and painful work conditions that are associated with these disorders.’ In 2019 MSDs accounted for at least a third of the money paid out by the Commission for Norms, Equity and Workplace Health and Safety (CNÉSST) for treatments and replacement of wages. But those figures underestimate the extent of the problem because there is significant and well-documented under-declaration, linked, among other things, to difficulties in having MSDs recognized for compensation.”

“The report of the INSPQ stresses the importance of workers’ access to the prevention mechanisms provided by the Law on Workplace Health and Safety (LSST), whose effectiveness is well documented. These mechanisms include an elected worker representative for prevention, a health-and-safety committee, based on parity (worker-employer) representation, a prevention programme, and a health programme for the given enterprise, both adopted by the health-and-safety committee. But despite the forty years that have passed since the law was adopted, these prevention measures have not been extended to economic sectors that employ some 85 per cent of all of Québec’s workers. That is what the government’s recently presented draft Bill 59, now under study in the National Assembly’s Commission on Economy and Labour, proposes to do.”

“But there is a ‘slight’ problem: while the bill would extend the prevention measures to all sectors, it would also empty them largely of substance. Thus, the time off work for the workers’ representatives for prevention would be seriously reduced; the health programme would no longer be adopted by the health-and-safety committee but by the employer alone; the independent doctors of the public health network, until now chosen by the health-and-safety committee, would be replaced by doctors selected by the employer alone. …  There is one fundamental reason why the prevention measures provided by the LSST, despite their proven effectiveness for protecting workers’ health, have not been extended to most economic sectors in the forty years since the law was adopted: the opposition of the employers, who have enjoyed the support of successive governments.”

Socialist Project The Bullet, March 23, 2021: “Reform of Quebec’s Workplace Health-and-Safety Regime: “Social Partnership” or Class Struggle?” by David Mandel

Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec (INSPQ), 19 janvier 2021: Les troubles musculo-squelettiques liés au travail : un fardeau humain et économique évitable par Lentzkie M.E. Sanon et Susan Stock (5 pages, PDF)

Syndicat des professeurs et professeures de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (SPUQ), janvier 2020: L’épuisement comme norme par Michel Lacroix (12 pages, PDF)

Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS), 5 mars 2020:  La judiciarisation du régime d’indemnisation des lésions professionnelles au Québec par Mathieu Charbonneau et Guillaume Hébert (64 pages, PDF)

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The Future of Work


Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021

“In one of the largest global surveys of workers, people revealed a mostly optimistic story, but one with some concerning undercurrents. Workers reported feeling excited or confident about the future. Most said they believe they can meet the challenges of automation — and they proved it during the pandemic: by learning new digital skills and by quickly adapting to remote work. Yet many people think their job is at risk, and half of all respondents feel they’ve missed out on career opportunities or training due to discrimination.”

  • “50% are excited or confident about the future.
  • 39% think their job will be obsolete within 5 years.
  • 72% want a mix of remote and in-person working.
  • 50% have been held back by discrimination at work.”

People are concerned about job security

“The pandemic has already disrupted whole industries, contributing to people’s anxiety about the future. As companies accelerate their automation plans and many jobs continue to be remote, employees across every sector will need to acquire new skills that enable them to think and work in different ways. The future isn’t a fixed destination. We need to plan for dynamic rather than static tomorrows.”

Workers want to reskill

“In one of the pandemic’s positive surprises, people who were given the chance proved they could transition quickly to remote work while keeping productivity high. Where access exists, workers are keen to reskill as needed, but disparities in access to training remain. Those who most need digital skills are still the least likely to get them and, if this trend continues, we risk widening the digital divide. Leaders need to create more inclusive opportunities to upskill.”

Discrimination at work is holding people back

“The pandemic illuminated racial inequities and social tensions around the world. It also reversed progress toward gender equality, as many more women than men have left the labour market over the past year. At the same time, many younger workers are not being given opportunities to rise in an organisation. There’s a real need to open up genuine, fully inclusive conversations about how to build more diverse and purpose-led workplaces. Companies need to ask tough questions and really consider the answers they’re getting. And not just because it’s the right thing to do; it’s also good for business. A diverse workforce and deliberate inclusion efforts help drive better outcomes—through different perspectives, creative thinking, and open collaboration—that can lead to the broader economic development of our society, which benefits everyone.”

People want to work for purpose-driven companies  — but not at any price

“A large majority of people want a job with a sense of purpose. This is not just about attracting younger talent; it matters up and down the age scale. But economic realities, of course, have an impact too, so it is important to think about how purpose and economic success work together.”

Remote work is in demand

“A remarkably low percentage of people who find that they can work remotely want to go back to the office full time. With that in mind, most companies are planning to maintain at least some virtual work or flextime. More than half expect remote working to be a permanent part of their workforce strategy. And as a consequence, they’ll need different kinds of physical space. As leaders reimagine the offices of tomorrow, we expect the focus to be on increasing space where people can initiate, develop, and strengthen relationships. Where they can experience the culture and brand. And of course, where teams come together to brainstorm, collaborate, and problem solve.”

PwC Global, March 2021: Upskilling Hopes and Fears 2021

Human Resource Management Journal, March 12, 2021: From crafting what you do to building resilience for career commitment in the gig economy by Sut I Wong, Dominique Kost, and Christian Fieseler (18 pages, PDF)

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eBook of the Week

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America, by Alec MacGillis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. ISBN 9780374720179 (eBook)

From the publisher: "In 1937, the famed writer and activist Upton Sinclair published a novel bearing the subtitle A Story of Ford-America. He blasted the callousness of a company worth "a billion dollars" that underpaid its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and sometimes dangerous assembly line labor. Eighty-three years later, the market capitalization of has exceeded one trillion dollars, while the value of the Ford Motor Company hovers around thirty billion. We have, it seems, entered the age of one-click America—and as the coronavirus makes Americans more dependent on online shopping, its sway will only intensify. Alec MacGillis's Fulfillment is not another inside account or exposé of our most conspicuously dominant company. Rather, it is a literary investigation of the America that falls within that company's growing shadow. As MacGillis shows, Amazon's sprawling network of delivery hubs, data centers, and corporate campuses epitomizes a land where winner and loser cities and regions are drifting steadily apart, the civic fabric is unraveling, and work has become increasingly rudimentary and isolated."

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PWR: work&labour news&research, formerly the Weekly Work Report (2002 – 2006), the Perry Work Report (2006 – 2014) and the Perry Work Report: work&labour news&research (2014-2016), is a weekly e-publication of the CIRHR Library, University of Toronto.

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