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Workplace Issues Today

Daily News for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Selected by the Catherwood Library Reference Staff each Monday through Friday, excluding University holidays, WIT is a free alert service, providing abstracts and links to workplace-related news stories covered in the major media. Subscribe to WIT »

Established in 1999, this service also includes a searchable archive.

Canadian government opens full investigation into McDonalds franchise and corporate hiring practices

The Canadian government is using an investigation into allegations of McDonald’s violating temporary guest workers’ rights in Alberta and British Columbia as cause to investigate the entire chain’s labor practices across Canada. Canada has maintained is Temporary Foreign Worker Program for organizations who have attempted to hire in Canadian citizens or permanent residents, but found a “demonstrable shortage” of qualified workers. The program then permits the organization to hire foreign workers. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program administrators assert that with Canada’s youth unemployment at about 14%, McDonalds should have had no trouble finding workers qualified to flip burgers. Yet, the claims against McDonalds are that not only did the company hire guest workers when qualified local workers were ready, willing, and able to take on their job openings, but the two franchises actively tried to push residents and citizens out of jobs in favor of the more temporary foreign workers.

See “McDonald’s Guest Workers In Canada Highlight How The Chain Of Global Labor Procurement Can Lead To Legal Headaches,” by Angelo Young, The International Business Times, Apr 15 2014 (BCS)

Unions, government, and business join forces for $1.6B Morgan County project

An agreement in Illinois between 17 labor unions, government officials, and a private company would ensure that unions would have first pick of the approximately 620 jobs involved in Morgan County’s carbon-dioxide storage facility. The facility is estimated to cost about $1.6 billion, of which the federal government has promised to contribute about $1 billion, with FutureGen, the company designing and overseeing the construction of the facility, and other private sources paying for the rest. The CEO of FutureGen said that this project “can’t be accomplished without union support”, at the ceremony celebrating the agreement. The agreement includes clauses preventing lockouts and strikes and places the responsibility of finding and credentialing new hires for the project on the unions.

See “Agreement gives labor unions first preference for FutureGen jobs,” by Tim Landis, The State Journal-Register, Apr 15 2014 (BCS)

Pension costs could be moving Australia to have the highest retirement age

Australian Tresurer, Joe Hockey, has indicated that the country’s ageing population is and will continue to put too much stress on future budgets for the government to function properly without making some major change. Mr. Hockey believes that raising the country’s retirement age to 70 by 2023 would stave off the budget issues. Two Australian national institutions, the Productivity Commission and the Grattan Institute, both support the change, but everyday Australians and the country’s Labor Unions, and opposition politicians are crying foul, saying that the change in retirement age up to 67 has not even begun yet. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s data shows that, if the plan is implemented, Australia will have the highest retirement age in the world by far. Both Germany and Canada are raising their retirement age to 67 by 2029, and the U.S. will do so by 2036, making Australia’s retirement three years ahead of its closest rivals.

See “Pension age pressures could mean working until 70: poll,” by Ashleigh Gleeson, Newcastle Herald, Apr 15 2014 (BCS)