Living Wage Canada Releases New Rates, Annual Calculations

conversation

It’s one thing to have a job, it’s another thing to have a job that pays you enough to participate in society. Canada’s minimum wage, like most places, doesn’t match the reality of what a person needs to earn to make a living (thus people say minimum wage deserves minimum effort). Despite this unfortunate starting point, Living Wage Canada has found a way to streamline for both employers and employees what to expect an hourly minimum rate should be. As a result, the organization makes it easier for employers to be a certified living wage employer and will make it simpler for workers to know what to ask for.

The living wage movement in Canada stemmed from conversations around child poverty in the early 2010s. One major contribution to child poverty is parents who are working but still not able to make ends meet. Because of this focus on children the living wage was originally calculated for a family of four with two working parents. At the time, testing showed that the living wage rate for single parents with one child and single adults were fairly close to that of the reference family of four. However, over time, the living wage rates for these different household types have grown. The introduction of the Canada Child Benefit in 2016 by the federal government lowered living wage rates across the country. In 2019, the provincial government in Ontario introduced the CARE credit, which offers additional support to households with children.

Read more (PDF).

Thanks to Delaney!

Protests Work: Ontario to Repeal Anti-Worker Legislation

Last week the Conservative Ontario government did what was previously unthinkable in Canada: take away charter rights from people who work. This unprecedented act was met with widespread opposition from unions coast to coast as the Conservatives made it clear that collective bargaining (like NHL and MLB players have) will no longer be respected. People said no and launched massive protests defending worker’s rights and now the weak Conservatives admitted they were wrong and will repeal their legislation.

Protesting works and don’t let anybody try to convince you otherwise.

“(Workers) took on the Ford government and the government blinked,” said CUPE national president Mark Hancock.

Opposition to the law had been gathering steam over the past several days and the unions used the press conference to give Ford a glimpse of what he faced had he not promised Monday morning to repeal the law.

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Unionized Workers Earn $1.3 Million More

artistic image of workers striking
Unions improve the working conditions across the board for any industry they are in, plus when unions work together they can inspire mass change. Anti unionists argue against unions because members have to contribute dues which, they argue, lowers total earnings. This is a flat-out lie. Researchers at Cornell University have concluded that unionized workers earn a cumulative 1.3 million USD more than non-unionized workers in the same field. The next time somebody argues union dues lower the take home pay, show them this study.

Studies on labor union earnings premiums generally investigate their size through point-in-time estimates. This study posits, by contrast, that point-in-time estimates of the union premium overlook the cumulative earnings advantages of long-term, persistent union membership. Using a sample of men from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1969 to 2019, the authors investigate how lifetime union membership contributes to earnings advantages. They find, first, that unionization throughout one’s career is associated with a $1.3 million mean increase in lifetime earnings, larger than the average gains from completing college. Second, the lifetime earnings gains are channeled entirely through higher hourly wages and occur despite earlier-than-average retirement for persistently unionized men. Third, the union wage premium is not constant throughout a worker’s career; instead it increases with more years of union membership. The cumulative advantages of union membership for workers’ economic well-being are far greater than point-in-time estimates suggest.

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Game Workers Uniting for Better Workplaces

Interview

In creative industries labour exploitation can happen because employers can get away with leaning into the passion creative workers bring to their field. The video game industry may be a young industry, but the tricks of getting free labour from workers are old ones. As a result, movements like Game Workers Unite have popped up to help video game workers get the respect they deserve.

Recently workers at Activision created the largest video game union and in Canada a union has been formed at a game service company. This is the beginning of a larger movement in the industry which is great to see. Professor Johanna Weststar has looked into why this is happening now:

We can trace the history of game worker resistance to see some of these fluctuations. Examples include the Easter Egg planted by programmer Warren Robinett in Atari’s Adventure, the brief formation of a virtual union called UbiFree in France in 1998 and the infamous EA Spouse affair in 2004.

The shine is coming off the rhetoric of “passion” that reinforces individualism, valorizes heroic efforts for the sake of the game and promotes worker alignment with employer interests.

Read more.

Thanks to Roger!

Punctual Meetings are More Productive

Interview

It’s not just you who thinks there’s too much useless chatter at the start of the meeting. Meetings that don’t start on time are less efficient than those that do, and less creative. Another neat factor researchers found out is that people are less satisfied with a meeting that starts late, so if you want a reputation of running good meetings that aren’t a waste of time then start on time.
The next time you run a meeting skip the small talk and get down to what you’re meeting about.

Meeting lateness is pervasive and potentially highly consequential for individuals, groups, and organizations. In Study 1, we first examined base rates of lateness to meetings in an employee sample and found that meeting lateness is negatively related to both meeting satisfaction and effectiveness. We then conducted 2 lab studies to better understand the nature of this negative relationship between meeting lateness and meeting outcomes. In Study 2, we manipulated meeting lateness using a confederate and showed that participants’ anticipated meeting satisfaction and effectiveness were significantly lower when meetings started late. In Study 3, participants holding actual group meetings were randomly and blindly assigned to either a 10 min late, 5 min late, or a control condition (n = 16 groups in each condition). We found significant differences concerning participants’ perceived meeting satisfaction and meeting effectiveness, as well as objective group performance outcomes (number, quality, and feasibility of ideas produced in the meeting). We also identified differences in negative socioemotional group interaction behaviors depending on meeting lateness. In concert, our findings establish meeting lateness as an important organizational phenomenon and provide important conceptual and empirical implications for meeting research and practice.

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