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Labour Unions, Workplace Rights and Canadian Public Policy

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  • John Godard
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    Abstract

    This paper addresses the future of labour unions and of workplace rights as they pertain to Canadian public policy. I argue that the established policy regime has unduly limited the purview of unions and the rights and protections afforded workers, and that unions are becoming increasingly marginalized under it. After then considering various alternatives, I argue for a "good practice" paradigm, one that relies less on formal certification and collective bargaining rights and more on the provision of universal rights designed to ensure basic levels of dignity, fairness, and voice (i.e., good practice) at work. Under this paradigm, the role of unions would be less one of negotiating and enforcing rights where they are certified, and more one of ensuring the effective implementation and enforcement of state-mandated rights in all workplaces, regardless of whether they are certified for purposes of collective bargaining.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 449-467

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    Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:29:y:2003:i:4:p:449-467

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    1. Kochan, Thomas A., 1996. "What works at work : overview and assessment," Working papers 3886-96., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    2. Richard B. Freeman & James L. Medoff, 1979. "The Two Faces of Unionism," NBER Working Papers 0364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2001. "Private Sector Union Density and the Wage Premium: Past, Present, and Future ," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(3), pages 487-518, July.
    4. John Pencavel, 2003. "The Surprising Retreat of Union Britain," NBER Working Papers 9564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Freeman, Richard B, 1976. "Individual Mobility and Union Voice in the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 361-68, May.
    6. David E. Guest & Riccardo Peccei, 2001. "Partnership at Work: Mutuality and the Balance of Advantage," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 39(2), pages 207-236, 06.
    7. Richard P. Chaykowski, 2002. "Globalization and the Modernization of Canadian Labour Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(1), pages 81-91, March.
    8. Dore, Ronald, 2000. "Stock Market Capitalism: Welfare Capitalism: Japan and Germany versus the Anglo-Saxons," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199240616.
    9. Daphne G. Taras, 2002. "Alternative Forms of Employee Representation and Labour Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(1), pages 105-116, March.
    10. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
    11. David Weil, 1999. "Are mandated health and safety committees substitutes for or supplements to labor unions?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(3), pages 339-360, April.
    12. Paul Smith & Gary Morton, 2001. "New Labour's Reform of Britain's Employment Law: The Devil is not only in the Detail but in the Values and Policy Too," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 39(1), pages 119-138, 03.
    13. Thomas J. Courchene, 2002. "Human Capital in an Information Era," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(1), pages 73-80, March.
    14. Richard J. Long, 1993. "The impact of unionization on employment growth of Canadian companies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 691-703, July.
    15. Chris Riddell, 2001. "Union suppression and certification success," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 396-410, May.
    16. Garrett, Geoffrey, 1998. "Global Markets and National Politics: Collision Course or Virtuous Circle?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 787-824, September.
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