Union leaders, employers, government representatives and Ryerson University researchers and students recently gathered at the grand opening celebration of the Centre for Labour Management Relations (CLMR) at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. It is the first and only labour management relations Centre in the country funded by both labour and management. The CLMR will offer a nonpartisan forum where leaders from organized labour, public and private sector employers, academia and government can jointly discuss issues, exchange ideas, undertake research and develop a network of professional contacts with a primary goal of assisting in reducing workplace conflict.
One of Canada's most prominent union leaders, Buzz Hargrove, and one of Canada's well-known labour relations academics, Maurice Mazerolle of the Ted Rogers School of Business Management, have been appointed directors of the centre.
"Given the challenges the private sector, public sector and unions are facing in the current economic environment, the timing of the creation of the Centre couldn't be better," said Hargrove, a distinguished visiting professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management and former Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) president, during opening ceremonies.
At a time when labour disputes are becoming more frequent, the Centre offers a necessary new approach to build a more viable, sustainable and competitive Canadian marketplace, which heavily relies on avoiding or at least reducing workplace conflict. Due to critical issues such as wage, benefit and pension cuts, layoffs and increased workloads for those employees who remain, focusing on reducing conflict and avoiding strikes by assisting unions and employers with materials and knowledge will benefit all.
Cynthia Morton, Deputy Minister of Labour, Province of Ontario, Liz Graham, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Groupe Aeroplan Inc., Ken Georgetti, President, Canadian Labour of Congress and John Farrell, Executive Director, Federally Regulated Employers - Transportation and Communications (FETCO) provided supportive remarks about the Centre at the official opening event.
While providing an overview of the Centre, Mazerolle said, "I think one of the most important issues to look at is job security and the dangers associated with crowd sourcing work in the new economy. The modern workplace has reshaped the way in which we define work to the extent that there are now challenges in understanding new roles and relationships. Above all, it is critical to understand how to create engaging, inclusive workplaces that are centred around the idea of respect."
Areas of concentration for the CLMR may also include: alternative models for worker voice and representation; pensions sustainability in a time of economic instability; public sector labour relations; and mental health issues within the workplace to name a few.
Ryerson students will benefit with direct exposure to top labour and management leaders from around Canada and internationally, with the creation of special course-related engagements, workplace placements and internships.
For more information about the Centre for Labour Management Relations, visit www.ryerson.ca/clmr.
Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.