Q1. The legal regime is the “Industrial Voluntarism” whereby, state institutions played very important roles in industrial dispute conciliation. The passage of this Act by the federal government was intended to control and prevent disputes through subjecting the two parties involved to mandatory conciliation. This was the preferred mechanism of solving industrial disputes by the federal government. Both the employers and workers in resource, utilities and transport industries were forced to present their disputes to a board of conciliation, composed of three persons before they can think of initiating a strike. After the board analyzing the evidence in regard to the conflict and issuing its report, the parties are still averted from striking a situation known as “cooling-out” period. However, this conciliation process was meant to prevent occurrence of strikes and not to find a solution for the labor disputes. Also, IDIA was meant to raise the powers of the judiciary. The magistrates ended up chairing the IDIA conciliation boards and at the same time injunctions served as a resort of employers, projected to hinder union of powers.
Q2. The federal government’s role in labor disputes was to prevent and reduce industrial conflicts that mainly interfered with the succession of its National policy which majorly focused on communication, transportation, public utilities, electricity, gas, mines, and power banks. This was also to politicize its liberal policies. The federal government utilized its constitutional powers to legislate on the mentioned areas based on its residual powers composed of “order, peace and good government.” The reason for taking this role was to restore the production processes to maintain the market conditions instead of advancing ideas involving economic justice to the employers and workers. The federal government did not have the intentions of directly solving the problems that encountered the labor sector, but instead interested in maintaining its economy by ensuring that the demand in the market is well catered for by sufficient supply. This was made possible through ensuring continuous production in regard to key industries in the market.
Q3. The basis of the federal government intervening in private versus public labor disputes was to ensure that the economy was not going to be affected negatively. The government had a key role to ensure that the major industries that aided in maintaining the economy were running their production processes continuously. It could ensure that conflicts were solved and the daily processes were taking place to normality. Therefore, instead of ensuring that the disputes were settled in accordance with justice without favors the government was only interested in ensuring that the economy was performing positively. The government’s policies and strategies were mostly based on the realm, “voluntarism”.
Q4. The conciliation process which was conducted by the conciliation boards was not meant to assist the workers through their unions, but rather pro-long the solving process and further prevent strikes. The boards analyzed the evidences and could give duration of one month to present its report for publications of which they rarely did. Therefore, the worker’s complaints were never dealt with by the application of these conciliation boards, but rather a boost to the employers as they never paid attention to improving the areas that workers had raised issues in the disputes. Now that the government`s main aim of intervention in the labor disputes was not to find a solution to the issues raised, it played no role in ensuring that the issues raised were to be settled in a manner that will be satisfactory by the two parties. Therefore, the union’s grievances were never dealt with, a situation which later lead to invocation of the IDIA. Considering the role that the conciliation boards played during dispute settlement, it’s clear that they tended to favor the employers as they suppressed the workers.
Q5. The railway companies required cheap labor of which they decided to import from other countries which was against the immigrant laws of the federal government. Due to increased industrial union movements, the railway company decided to use cheap labor forces which they acquired from other countries, they therefore brought people to Canada to provide jobs to them. Also, during the strikes the Railways companies demoted workers and wanted to employ other cheap workers. This was against the immigrant policies of Canada which lead to the rise of a conflict with the government. But, because the federal government was much in need of the major railway line, they had to bend down and allow the company to continue with its operations.
Q6. Considering that the federal government was interested in the establishment of the railway in order to achieve its national development policy, it never paid attention at charging the railway companies and its agents is situations where they violated the law. Instead, the legal authorities protected these agents, for example an occasion where, private charges were to be executed on railway constables but the deputy attorney general instructed that they be withdrawn. On the other hand, charges were lodged on workers engaging for unlawful meetings or even strikes. For example, the prosecution and due conviction of the Deprenzo brothers, despite them wounded by police bullets in a strike. All these were meant to allow a swift run of railway operations with intent of boosting the economy of Canada and further allowing the government to implement its national goals.
Q7. The federal government really treasured the establishment and working as a means of transport of the railway in that it supported the liberal’s national development policies. Therefore, any shutdown or disruption of the railway operations could highly disrupt the succession of the national policies. The government could offer favors to the railway companies and their agents on the other side suppressing the workers. For example, an occasion whereby private prosecutions were to be executed against railway constables, but the deputy attorney general gave instructions for the withdrawal of the charges. On the other hand, charges were more often lodged against the striking workers, for unlawful assemblies and rioting. It’s clear that the government through exercising its criminal law aided the railway companies in suppressing the workers’ rights with the aim of achieving its national policy of economic development.
Q8. The new form of union that emerged during this period was a socialist organization by the name “wobblies”. The socialist organization believed in opposing the existing capitalist monopolies and was to make it possible through workers joining together to form a single socialist force. It’s the Wobblies that led to the possibilities of occurrence of a strike. They advocated for creation of a society that was to be run by workers, of which they referred to semi skilled and unskilled workers of Western Canada. The Wobblies majorly were concerned about the unskilled workers because of their wide usage by both the employers and Canadian Labor Unions. The potential recruits to the Wobblies included; poorly paid county workers, immigrant workers and general workers.
Q9. During the occasions of mass industrial unrests which included boycotts and strikes by the workers, the state and the legal institutions collaborated with the employers to stop the movements by using coercive means. The federal government, through various institutions laid a stable foundation in regard to state coercion through legislation of criminal law. This law clearly defined which kind of activity that was prohibited and further provided the power to use troops and police to enforce order socially during such situations. Also, when the mechanisms of the Industrial Disputes Investigations Act, through the use of conciliation boards were invoked, the government could join with employers to impose coercive policies on workers with the intent of solving the dispute in favor of the employer.
Q10. Due to the rise of trade unions, the state together with the employers formulated an aggressive campaign whereby, they used a combination of criminal law provisions and injunctions to decrease the effectiveness of the sympathy actions like boycotts and strikes. Also, the British precedents (Taff Vale decision of 1901) enhanced and accelerated the effective of given civil actions that were against unions. Also, the rights associated with freedom of association were not exercised which highly undermined the aspect of state neutrality upon labor relations. The unionist were deprived the right of association so as to prevent creation and the pressure of more unions on employers which may affect the production processes. The government’s intervention was responsible for the exercise of criminal law, by playing a central role by use of provincial and municipal officials. They administered bureaucratic mechanisms in conciliations.
Coercion as the usual state response to strikes in some industries
The federal government in Canada mostly exercised its powers in application of excessive force and intimidation on striking and boycotting laborers with the aim of ascertaining compliance. The government usually applied coercion when there was mass industrial unrest in the key industries like transportation, mining, communication ant power banks which were key contributors to the economy. Also coercion was used when the mechanisms involving the Industrial Disputes Investigations Act has been invoked by the workers through engaging in violent riots.
Transport industry was one of the sectors that coercion was deeply applied by the federal government. In the railway companies, conflicts were experienced in different forms which included union-sanction strikes and violent riots. The government responded to these conflicts through conciliatory mechanisms of accommodation together with coercion .The choice of response depended on the type of conflict and the kind of laborers involved. For example the strike in the Grand Trunk Railway whereby there was the application of militia who shot the striking workers. The government at this point chose the use of force to stop the strike in order for the operations involving the use of the railway to commence to keep development of the economy. Despite the presence of conciliation mechanisms, Railways employers used strikebreakers who definitely used force to oppose the demands of unions.
Also, in textile industries coercion was widely used. For instance, Southern Quebec experienced large strikes but of which lasted for a short period. The employers usually responded to these violent strikes through contacting the available local authorities to deploy troops who used all sorts of force to end up the strike. For example at Valleyfied, troops were deployed to end up a strike which later the King intervened and asked the dispute to be solved in a conciliatory manner. The mine industry too resorted to use coercion as a mechanism of solving the labor disputes. There was also the execution of force by the government with intent to settle labor disputes that dominated in the mine industries.
The state opted to use coercion as a mechanism of settling labor disputes because it acts as the quickest method of solving them that enabled it to achieve its set objectives. The application of force and intimidation in catering for violent raids and boycotts acted well for the government in achieving its national goals. The federal government was mainly interested in keeping the production process in progress in key sectors to maintain and develop the economy of Canada. Therefore, the application of coercive means could suppress the laborers and enable the federal government to create a good relationship with the employers of the key sectors.
The coercive mechanisms of solving labor disputes acted well for the federal government in executing its national goals. However, this mechanism really suppressed the workers in Canada over a long period. Therefore, in regard to the laborers this method of dispute settlement was not ideal because it suppressed their rights. The government was trying to achieve the liberal’s National goals policy by not administering justice in settling the labor disputes.