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American Take on the Magna-CAW Neutrality Agreement

I have discussed the agreement between Magna and the CAW, known as the Framework of Fairnes, several times in the past.  That agreement was novel in Canada.  It granted the CAW exclusive preference in organizing Magna workers by, among other things, granting CAW organizers access to the workplaces to try and persuade Magna workers to sign union cards, requiring Magna management to announce to employees that Magna respects the CAW and is willing to work in good faith with the CAW, granting the CAW voluntary recognition if a majority of workers in a factory sign a union membership card (no government run vote required).  But all of these benefits for the CAW organizers came at a cost:  the union had to accept in the subsequent collective agreement Magna’s basic HR structures and agree never to strike Magna.  Suffice to say, the agreement sparked significant controversy in Canada, especially within the labour movement.

I have written about the legal implications of these agreements under Canadian labour law (see this brief commentary) and in this longer piece, I contrasted how American law deals with similar issues raised by neutrality agreements.  American labor law scholar Martin Malin, from Chicago-Kent College of Law has just published an article that examines the Magna-CAW deal as it would be dealt with under American law.  Here is the paper, available for free download.

Interestingly for me, Professor Malin quotes a Guest Blog from Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog written by a former CAW staff rep, Herman Rosenfeld, who was very critical of the Magna deal.


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