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Still Married after All These Years? Union Organizing and the Role of Works Councils in German Industrial Relations

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  • Martin Behrens
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    Abstract

    German trade unions are seeking new ways to counteract a steady downward trend in membership that has dragged on for fifteen years. Works councils’ activities aimed at recruiting new members may play an important role in such efforts. The author’s analysis of data from the fourth WSI survey of works and staff councils (2004-2005) shows that almost half of all works councils supported unions’ recruitment endeavors, using a wide range of methods. Works councils’ willingness to take active part in membership recruitment increased substantially when works councilors were personally involved in trade union affairs and were supported by negotiating bodies. Also important was works councilor participation in trade union seminars and training sessions. Favorable perceptions of such institutions were positively associated with the likelihood that works councils would actively engage in new member recruitment. The analysis also reveals a positive association between recruitment activity and plant-level union membership growth.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 3 (April)
    Pages: 275-293

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:62:y:2009:i:3:p:275-293

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    Cited by:
    1. John T. Addison & Alex Bryson & Paulino Teixeira & André Pahnke & Lutz Bellmann, 2009. "The Extent of Collective Bargaining and Workplace Representation: Transitions between States and their Determinants. A Comparative Analysis of Germany and Great Britain," GEMF Working Papers 2009-14, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
    2. Müller, Steffen & Stegmaier, Jens, 2013. "The Dynamic Effects of Works Councils on Labor Productivity: First Evidence from Panel Data," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79846, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Uwe Jirjahn & Jens Mohrenweiser & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2010. "Works Councils and Learning: On the Dynamic Dimension of Codetermination," Research Papers in Economics 2010-06, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    4. Arnold, Daniel & Brändle, Tobias & Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Sickness Absence, Works Councils, and Personnel Problems. Evidence from German Individual and Linked Employer-Employee Data," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79906, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Uwe Jirjahn & Jens Mohrenweiser, 2013. "Active Owners and the Failure of Newly Adopted Works Councils," Research Papers in Economics 2013-04, University of Trier, Department of Economics.

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