Can Government Workplaces Be Made World-Class?

Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 335-359, 2002

25 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2010 Last revised: 4 Apr 2010

See all articles by Zsuzsanna Lonti

Zsuzsanna Lonti

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sara J. Slinn

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Anil Verma

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Abstract

Citing empirical evidence drawn from an extensive survey of managers in the federal jurisdiction and in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, the authors report major shifts in the organization of work in Canadian government workplaces, marked by the widespread adoption of innovative practices. The same survey indicates that unions have had little involvement in the restructuring process, a fact which is attributable to the largely adversarial nature of labour-management relations in the 1990s, a highly centralized paradigm of collective bargaining, and the resistance of union leaders to change. As the authors note, however, attempts to introduce innovations are not sustainable without meaningful union participation. In the second part of the paper, the authors assess whether the recommendations of the Fryer Committee, if implemented, would foster the adoption of innovative practices and enhance the productivity of government workplaces. Many of the Committee’s proposals, in their view, are likely to eliminate unnecessary barriers to interaction between labour and management, promote cooperative problem-solving and communication, and streamline needlessly complex dispute-resolution and industrial relations procedures. The authors conclude, however, that the recommendations do not go far enough, and they are critical of the Committee’s failure to address concretely the government’s tendency to exploit its dual role as employer and legislator by interfering in collective bargaining disputes.

Keywords: labor relations, public sector, new public management, labor law

JEL Classification: J5, J50, J52, J53, J58, K3, K31

Suggested Citation

Lonti, Zsuzsanna and Slinn, Sara and Verma, Anil, Can Government Workplaces Be Made World-Class?. Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 335-359, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1579090

Zsuzsanna Lonti

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Sara Slinn (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
(416) 736-5052 (Phone)

Anil Verma

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

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