AP/SOSC 3380 6.00
Law, Labour And The State
Courts have traditionally viewed the relationships between employers and employees in terms of contracts and have developed a set of doctrines about the rights and obligations of "masters" and "servants" at common law. While legislatures have from time to time passed statutes regulating the employment relationship in various respects, the past half-century has seen a dramatic expansion of state activity in this area. Since World War II, compulsory collective bargaining has supplanted some important aspects of individual contract making for a substantial proportion of Canadian workers. Employment is such a significant a form of social relations for such a large portion of Canadians that these developments are worth studying in their own right. Beyond that, it is fertile ground for considering a range of questions about the role of the state in modern economic and political life, and about the interrelations of various state agencies and institutions. This course focuses predominantly on contemporary Canada but also incorporates material that demonstrates how key issues and themes in Canada apply globally. In the first half, we discuss labour in the 19th century and how the interactions between workers’ struggles, legal action and state responses developed in the common law of employment. We will also then discuss the evolving dynamics between law, labour, the state and transnational regulation as we critically examine Canada’s role in today’s global world of work. In the second half of the course, we delve more deeply in to the statutory regulation of labour, as well as an historical account of labour struggles and legal cases that have evolved in to the modern collective bargaining regime and the specifics of negotiating and administering collective agreements. Students will have the opportunity to learn the course material from a variety of resources, including worker stories, legal texts, videos and other interactive tools. Tutorials will offer an opportunity for students to engage in active discussion as well as to develop their skills around thinking critically about the readings.