'Legal' versus 'Economic' factors in the growth and decline of unions: A stock-flow analysis of Canada and the US
In the first part of this paper a union membership stock-flow growth accounting identity provides detailed descriptions of the impact of 'legal' and 'economic' factors on union density in Canada and the U.S. private sector. In the second part simulations are used to explore the impact of one legal factor - mandatory representation votes on the Canada-US union density gap and union density in Canada. The first simulation shows that mandatory votes explain 17 to 26 percent of the Canada-US union density gap. Differences between Canada and US mandatory vote procedures mean this is a very conservative estimate. The second simulation shows that the increasing use of mandatory votes across Canadian jurisdictions over time has reduced Canadian union density by less than 1 percentage point by 1995. From 1995 to 1998 the percentage of the Canadian labour force covered by mandatory vote legislation increased from 18% to 57%. In the future the negative effect of mandatory votes on Canadian union density will increase.
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