Working from home: considerations for unions

The NUPGE paper released today identifies some of the key considerations that workers and their unions should be thinking about when it comes to WFH — as both a temporary and possibly-permanent arrangement.

Ottawa (09 July 2020) — As working from home becomes more prevalent, there are many considerations for workers and their unions. This is the subject of a new paper by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

Working from home receives renewed attention during pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers have been required or encouraged to temporarily work from home (WFH). This new reality, coupled with increasing speculation that working from home may become more prevalent beyond the pandemic, has reignited a public debate about the benefits and the pitfalls of working from home.

The paper released by NUPGE today identifies some of the key considerations that workers and their unions should be thinking about when it comes to WFH — as both a temporary and possibly-permanent arrangement:

  • Use of technology
  • Impacts on productivity
  • Work-life balance
  • Accessibility and equity
  • Cost savings
  • Environmental impact
  • Health and safety
  • Worker and community solidarity

Striving for balance

Given the many and complex considerations, the paper concludes that WFH will not be a one-size-fits-all solution.

It will be important to consider how WFH arrangements might apply to different jobs, industries, and workplaces, and how these might vary over time and place. It must be considered how these arrangements will impact (or be tailored to) different workers and their circumstances.

Workers and their unions must shape the path forward

The present moment, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, is poised to have a real impact on the future of work. The pandemic has prompted a broad rethink of the way we do things, from our jobs and social lives, to how we organize our economy.

As a result, we could be on the brink of widespread, structural change towards the more equitable and sustainable world that the labour movement has long advocated for. Or this moment might be captured by powerful interests to entrench the status quo or lead us down a path towards greater inequality, exploitation, and crisis.

Workers, their unions, and communities must shape the path forward to a more just world.

Read the paper here.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE