BC Labour Relations Board: IKEA Is Bargaining In Bad Faith

I’ve written several previous posts about the labour dispute at the IKEA store in Richmond, British Columbia, which has seen unionized workers locked out for more than a year.

In May, the union representing the workers, Teamsters Local 213, filed a complaint with the British Columbia Labour Relations Board (LRB) about IKEA’s actions. The union alleged that IKEA was trying to undercut the union’s role as the workers’ representative in bargaining, by offering financial inducements to workers to cross picket lines and return to their jobs.

On Friday, July 25, the LRB ruled that (more…)

The BC Public School Employers’ Association and Its Bargaining Dispute with The BC Teachers’ Federation

This week, the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) – the employers’ representative in the current collective agreement negotiations with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) – released a background document analyzing the BCTF’s most recent bargaining proposals. In the same week,  The Tyee news website featured several past bargaining participants saying that the two parties’ attitudes have always been a barrier to concluding an agreement. In that context, the BCPSEA backgrounder deserves some closer attention, because, in my opinion, it is (more…)

The Coalition of BC Businesses and the BC Teachers’ Federation Court Case

The Coalition of BC Businesses has announced that it has applied for intervenor status in the British Columbia government’s appeal of the BC Supreme Court ruling ordering the government to restore certain language to its collective agreement with the BC Teachers’ Federation. Intervenor status gives an applicant the right to participate in the case proceedings, and to make submissions to the court on the legal issues involved in the case. The full text of the original Supreme Court ruling is here, and here is the text of the Court of Appeal decision staying the implementation of the ruling until the appeal process has been completed.

I don’t have access to the Coalition’s complete application for intervenor status, but I want to make a few comments on (more…)

How Gender Affects Perceptions of Team Members’ Expertise: The Case of STEM

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations. There’s several possible reasons for this: not much encouragement for girls or women to take courses in these subjects, lack of visible role models, and lack of support in the workplace. But a set of studies documented in a new article in Administrative Science Quarterly raises another potential problem for women in STEM occupations: gender-related discrimination in co-workers’ evaluations of their expertise.

The three studies described in the article, by Penn State professor Aparna Joshi, looked at (more…)

Jellyfish Journalism Fail

I’ve written a number of posts about media misreporting of scientific research, and here – sadly – is another example of the same problem, from blogger and oceanographer Dr. Craig McClain. His description of different news sources progressively misreporting his story about a jellyfish – and getting the facts more and more wrong – would be funny if it weren’t so depressing.

And to further contextualize his tale of woe, the Daily Mail website – which was responsible for some of the major errors as the story was circulated – is one of the most visited news websites in the world. So who knows how far this misinformation has spread, and who knows what else out there is so very, very wrong?

Sigh.

(Thanks to science writer Kathleen Raven for her Tweet that led me to Dr. McClain’s article.)

A Look at the British Columbia Government’s Ad in the Teachers’ Bargaining Dispute

In a high-profile collective bargaining situation, it’s not at all unusual for both unions and employers to try to sway public opinion in their favour. And the current bargaining dispute between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the British Columbia provincial government is no exception. The dispute – which has now escalated into a full-out strike  – has been full of seemingly back-to-back press conferences by each side, and extensive use of social media to spread each side’s messages. However, on Friday, June 20, the government took its public relations campaign to a new level by buying a full-page ad on the front page of Vancouver’s 24 Hours newspaper.

I want to take a closer look at this ad – not only because it appeared in one of Vancouver’s highest-circulation daily newspapers  the day after BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender stated “it is not my intent to bargain in the media” – but also because its content includes
(more…)

Two Other British Columbia Labour Disputes to Watch

This morning, 41,000 public school teachers in British Columbia went on strike, after nearly a year of negotiations and a partial lockout by the provincial government.

While this is undoubtedly a major event in BC labour relations, I’d like to draw your attention to two other current labour disputes going on in BC. Neither has received a significant amount of media attention, but both are worth keeping an eye on. (more…)

Flawed Data, Questionable Results: International Monetary Fund Research Gets Criticized

Research methodology scares a lot of people. There’s this idea that you need an advanced degree and very specialized education to design and conduct a research study. That isn’t always true – a lot of times, it’s just a matter of thinking logically about how to get and use meaningful data to help you understand a situation.

But researchers with advanced degrees and very specialized education, and working for hugely influential international policy-making and governance organizations – they know how to collect accurate data and analyze it appropriately. Right? Right??

Ummm….maybe not.

In March of this year, (more…)

The Problem of Too Much Talent

This week I needed some distraction from things that are keeping me busier than usual, so I was very happy when this CD arrived in the mail.

Jellyfish are a hugely underappreciated band, and Stack-A-Tracks – the instruments-only backing tracks from the songs on the band’s two albums – just reinforces how magical it was when Jason Falkner, Andy Sturmer, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Chris Manning worked together. Some fans argue that what sunk Jellyfish’s career was the onslaught of grunge music in the early 1990s. Clearly grunge wasn’t the place for four guys dressed in 1960s psychedelic gear and playing melodic power pop – but I’d argue that what ultimately doomed the band was that it contained too much talent. (more…)