Freedom to Strike? What Freedom to Strike? Back-to-Work Legislation and the Freedom to Strike in Historical and Legal Perspective
86 (2020) Labour / Le Travail 135–147. https://doi.org/10.1353/llt.2020.0042.
Defenders of labour rights rightly criticize the enactment of back-to-work (BTW) legislation ending otherwise lawful strikes as egregious interference with the freedom to strike, a freedom that in 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) held is constitutionally protected. Yet, often overlooked in discussions of the freedom to strike and the propensity of neoliberal governments to limit that freedom through exceptional measures is the baseline of restrictions built into the DNA of Canada’s version of the Wagner Act Model (WAM) of collective bargaining. The first goal of this essay, therefore, is to locate BTW measures in the longer history and current practice of legally restricting the freedom to strike. The second goal is to consider the extent to which the constitutional freedom to strike is likely to modify the legal framework generally and to limit the use of BTW measures in particular.
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