Social Work

Labour negotiations can’t be in ‘good faith’ without acknowledging the cruelties workers face

For so many, labour action is about whether they get to eat or stay in their home. School of Social Work associate professor Ameil Joseph shares his opinion.

Workers at a street-side labour demonstrationThe Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing education workers, and the Ontario government reached a tentative deal Sunday night that is keeping kids in classrooms this week.


Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University in Hamilton are off the job after the university rejected to move any further on wages and other measures late last week.


This won’t be the last we hear about the labour and economic conditions of educators in this province, or across this country.


When labour disputes arise, there is a term often relied upon to articulate a level of honesty within offers, positions, and negotiations for workers and their employers — it’s the call from all sides to operate in “good faith.”


It is not a new maneuver, but I think it is an important one for everyone to reflect on.


Public sector workers in education sectors across the province have been trying to articulate their honest, contemporary realities to their employers — that context frames what “good faith” means. Yet they have repeatedly been met with what could instead be called bad faith responses.


All of us should be thinking about the material impacts of this. That requires honesty that is, in this very moment, an absolute necessity.


Read the full article on the CBC website.