by Barry Weisleder
Nowadays, the mere threat of back to work legislation is enough to prompt labour leaders to submit a dispute to arbitration.
In sectors of the economy where job action can instantly cost the bosses dearly, workers for over a century were accustomed to flexing their industrial muscle to win, or at least before feeling the hammer blow of Parliament.
As the latest dispute on Canada’s railroad shows, the anguish of thousands of workers who suffer extra-long shifts is cruelly set aside. Their lack of adequate rest time hikes the risk to public safety – but who is held to account? Arbitration can take months, and rarely finds a solution to fundamental problems like work overload and dictatorial supervisors.