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Comparing Youth and Adult Desire for Unionization in Canada


  • Rafael Gomez
  • Morley Gunderson
  • Noah Meltz


Survey data for Canada indicates that youths have a stronger preference than adults for unionization. We show that most of that difference reflects the stronger desire of youths to have unions deal with workplace issues rather than a greater exposure of youths to these issues. In particular, youth preferences for unionization are influenced to a greater degree than for adults by social capital (e.g, familial union status and peer-group attitudes). The possible role of progressive HRM practices and legislative protection in substituting for unionization is also highlighted. Finally, implications of the findings for the future of unionization and organizing youth are discussed. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd/London School of Economics 2002.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Gomez & Morley Gunderson & Noah Meltz, 2002. "Comparing Youth and Adult Desire for Unionization in Canada," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 40(3), pages 542-519, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:542-519

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    Cited by:

    1. Bryson, Alex & Freeman, Richard B. & Gomez, Rafael & Willman, Paul, 2017. "The Twin Track Model of Employee Voice: An Anglo-American Perspective on Union Decline and the Rise of Alternative Forms of Voice," IZA Discussion Papers 11223, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. admin, clsrn & Gomez, Rafael & Gunderson, Morley, 2009. "For Whom the 'Retirement' Bell Tolls: Inter-temporal Comparisons Using the 1994 and 2002 Canadian General Social Survey," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-31, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Apr 2009.
    3. Jo Blanden & Stephen Machin, 2003. "Cross-Generation Correlations of Union Status for Young People in Britain," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(3), pages 391-415, September.
    4. Andy Hodder, 2014. "Organising young workers in the Public and Commercial Services union," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 153-168, March.
    5. Vaona, Andrea, 2006. "The duration of union membership: An empirical study," Kiel Working Papers 1268, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Peter Gahan & Andreas Pekarek, 2013. "Social Movement Theory, Collective Action Frames and Union Theory: A Critique and Extension," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(4), pages 754-776, December.
    7. Jonathan E. Booth & John W. Budd & Kristen M. Munday, 2010. "Never Say Never? Uncovering the Never-Unionized in the United States," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(1), pages 26-52, March.
    8. Mélanie Dufour-Poirier & Mélanie Laroche, 2015. "Revitalising young workers' union participation: a comparative analysis of two organisations in Quebec (Canada)," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(5-6), pages 418-433, November.
    9. Dr Alex Bryson, 2014. "What Accounts for the Union Member Advantage in Voter Turnout? Evidence from the European Union, 2002-2008," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 428, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    10. Glynne Williams & Martin Quinn, 2014. "Macmillan's children? Young workers and trade unions in the early 1960s," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 137-152, March.

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