The Borough Of York Strike
Author(s): Wayne Taylor
Publication Date: 1983, 2004

In October 1981, municipal staff in York County and outside the city went on strike. The reason for the strike was social benefits, specifically the accumulation and cash payment of sick leave credits. After three weeks of picketing and mediation, and a hearing before the Ontario Industrial Relations Board, the strike ended but none of the parties had clearly won it.

The case is divided into two parts: Part A presents the story of the events up to the hearing of the Ontario Industrial Relations Board where the union files a complaint against the County of York which it finds being in bad faith in its negotiations. Part B presents the conclusions of the hearing and the final results. Both parties include questions for class discussion; it is also possible to simulate the negotiations at the end of Part A.

The teacher's manual suggests how to use the case and presents an analysis of collective bargaining negotiations.

The main objective of the case is to allow students to familiarize themselves with the theory and practice of human resource management and collective bargaining negotiations. The case also addresses many industrial relations subjects, such as bad faith negotiations, conflicts of interest in negotiations, conciliation and mediation, attitude and synchronization in collective bargaining right to strike in the public sector, politics within trade unions and the role of public opinion in a strike.

First and foremost, the case of the York County strike clearly illustrates that to resolve a conflict while avoiding confrontation, it is better to use participation rather than use an authoritarian approach.