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Public Sector Unions in The Canadian Labour Movement

Public Sector Unions in Canadian Labour Movement
The Canadian Labour Movement is organizations that represent the workers in Canada when it comes with having a negotiation with their employer. Normally, they are engaged in a collective bargaining agreement with their employers to resolve issues such as wages, work conditions, and even work security. There are several types of unions, which may include office and industrial workers. However, a public-sector union such as government employees, hospitals, and school systems emerged in 1960s after a law has passed, allowing government workers to form a group so that they can protect their rights as employees.

Public Sector Unions

Between nineteen 1958 and 1964, the general union membership in Canada was almost is not increasing. However in, 1965, the union membership started to increase again significantly (newlearner. com). The increasing number of memberships is due to the public sector employees, who work for the government regardless whether they came from municipal, provincial or even from the federal level of the government. It also drastically expanded the trade union movement’s ranks. The public sector government employees joined the labour union because of the one common reason, which is money. They tried to make up as their income becomes weaker in terms of purchasing power in addition to the anticipated price increases and galloping inflation (newlearner. com). The government employees right voiced these grievances out after they were allowed to form their own group and join the labour union.
It was clear that part of the labour unions in the country during the late 1960s and 1970s was the public sector labour union’s expansion. Thus, the unionists of the public sector comprised the ten percent of the membership’s total during the 1960s (Roberts, 2005). On the other hand, the public sector or the government employees are somehow similar to those who work for the non-government companies such as office and industrial workers. Additionally the public sector union continued to grow during the 1970s and 1980s, reaching almost seventeen percent of the total membership.
As a result of increasing number of public sectors in the labour union, the Canadian government restricted the organized labour, which affected the strikes of important services. The government even imposed some guidelines and policies regarding employees’ wages (thecanadianencyclopedia. ca). This is in response to emerging grievances from the public sector unions. On the other hand, there were some attacks against the public sector union, which became one of the challenges of the Canadian government (Bickerton & Stinson, N. D.). During the late 1970s, governments in Canada took some various actions to attack the workers’ rights of the public sector as well as the power of their unions. Such attacks include privatization of companies and suspension of the workers’ collective bargaining rights.
Recently, the Conference Board of Canada reported that the organized labour in the country is increasing, which shows that thirty one percent of the labour forces are unionized workers (conferenceboard. ca). In addition, the public sector unions are dominating the percentage of this workforce.


The public sector unions have equal rights with the other unions in the Canadian Labour Union. Thus, their rights to make a collective bargaining must not be reversed nor suspended as they make a big contribution to the country’s economy. Governments of the country must respond to their grievances in away that both parties will benefit from their agreement and issues will be dealt in accordance with the law.


Bickerton, G., & Stinson, J. (n. d.). Challenges Facing the Canadian Labour Movement in The Context of Globalization, Unemployment, and the Casualisation of Labour. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://www. nottingham. ac. uk/shared/shared_gwc/documents/Canadian_Labour. pdf
Canadian Labour Congres (n. d.). Canadian Labor History. Retrieved March 2, 201, from http://www. newlearner. com/courses/hts/cln4u/pdf/labourhistory. pdf
The Conference Board of Canada (2013, December 11). Volatile Collective Bargaining Expected in The Public Sector in 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://www. conferenceboard. ca/press/newsrelease/13-12-11/volatile_collective_bargaining_expected_in_the_public_sector_in_2014. aspx
Historica Canada (n. d.). The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 2, 2014, from http://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. ca/en/article/labour-relations/
Roberts, L. W. (2005). Recent social trends in Canada, 1960-2000. Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.