Saturday, 19 January 2008

A Supreme Decision: Collective Bargaining as a Constitutional Right

In September 2007, Our Times Magazine published an article by Dr. Elaine Bernard, Executive Director of the Harvard Trade Union Program - Harvard Law School.

The article is entitled: Collective Bargaining as a Constitutional Right

There are a couple of quotes from Elaine's article that bear repeating:
"the right to bargain collectively with an employer enhances the human dignity, liberty and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to influence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, namely their work." - Supreme Court of Canada

Put in proper historic context, legislation did not create collective bargaining, but rather legislation eventually came to protect collective bargaining because of its fundamental importance" to society. One might also make the same case for the right to strike. Unfortunately, this case did not involve the right to strike and so it remains an open question whether the Supreme Court, in a future case, will recognize "the right to strike" as a constitutional right. Like collective bargaining, the right to strike "is consistent with, and indeed, promotes other Charter rights, freedoms and values" and therefore deserves to be recognized and protected by the Charter." - Dr. Elaine Bernard

1 comment:

John Murney said...

Larry,this is a very important decision, a landmark ruling. People who work in union shops now have the backing of the legal system behind them. It is good to be reminded from time to time, that 'the system' works.