All employment issues and relationships between employees (and their union if they are
unionized), employers (and managers who act on their behalf), and governmental agencies (as
well as their associated legislation and policies). The term has become synonymous with issues
concerning unionized employment relationships.
A study of employment relationships and issues (often in unionized workplaces)
The study of employment relationships and issues between groups of employees (usually in a
union) and management; also known as unionmanagement relations.
Barbash’s equityefficiency theory: Employment relationship. Employers usually focus on
efficiency (i.e. production/service levels, costs, productivity etc.) while unions and employees
most often concentrate on equity (i.e. fair workplace practices). As such it can be argues that
labour relations refers to the balance between equity and efficiency.
Human Resources Management
Human resources: the study of the employment relationship between employers and individual
employees. It typically examines issues related to selection, training, performance appraisal, and
Since most academics have been trained in business schools, human resources was mostly
efficiency focuses but that it also considers issues concerning equity and fairness.
The study of the employment relationship between employers and individual employees, usually
in nonunion settings. In the United States in the labour movement, it has been often considered a
strong antiunion term. (In he Canada the term is used in different contexts)
The study of employment relationships and issues in unions and nonunion workplaces.
The Industrial Relations System
An interdisciplinary field that encompasses knowledge and scholars from areas such as
economics, law, history, sociology, psychology, and political sciences in an effort to examine
employment relationships and issues. Dunlop’s Industrial Relations System Model
Specialized government agencies: the role of this actor is to develop, implement, and administer
legislation and policies pertinent to the employment relationship.
A hierarchy of managers and their representatives: The role of this actor is to manage the
workers and workplace in question.
A hierarchy of workers (nonmanagement) and any spokesperson: In most cases, these
associations consists of labour unions representing the workers.
Shared Ideology: A set of beliefs and ideas commonly held by the actors that helps to bind or
integrate the system together as an entity. As such, this shared ideology legitimized the role of
each actor in the eyes of the other two.
Market and Budgetary Constraints: Product and labour are critical areas to the employment
relationship. Unions seek to influence both the supply and demand of labour. They can impact
wages employees earn.
Technical Characteristics of the Workplace and Work Community: this context focuses of the
way hat work is structured and performed, including such factors as the processes used to
produce goods and services, the stability of the work force and operations, the size of the work
group, job tasks, hours of work, the technology/machinery used, etc.
Distribution of Power in the Larger Society: This context examines the power relationship
among the actors within a particular employment relationship in the broader society. This is
important because the actor with the most power will have the greatest ability to influence both
the terms and conditions of employment.
Web of Rules
Procedures for Establishing Rules: This element focuses on the processes used for making the
rules and who has the authority to make and administer the rules that govern the workplace.
Substantive Rules: These rules pertain to outcomes of the employment relationship; for example,
for the employee, compensation, job and performance expectations, and worker rights and duties.
Procedural Rules: the rules that can determine and/or apply substantive rules; for example rules
concerning how wages are determined, rules concerning work schedules, and rules concerning
how an employee is able to use or earn vacation time.
Criticism of Dunlop’s Industrial Relations System
It allows us to examine an industrial relations issues yet it lacks the ability to predict outcomes
and/or relationships. The model underestimates the importance of power and conflict in the employment
The model is static in nature.
The model cannot provide an explanation for the decline in unionization, particularly in the
The output of each of the five outputs flow back into the environment through the feedback loop.
Legal Subsystem: common law (earliest forms of employment law and applies to nonunion
employment relationships); statutory law (or laws concerning minimum employment standards
and employment discrimination); collective bargaining law (pertaining to unionized employment
Economic Subsystem: product/service market (availability of products or services from
competitors as well as an organization’s relative competitive position in its market), labour
markets ( supply of, and demand for, workers with the skills needed for the workplace in
question), Money markets (exchange rate, interest rate, inflation) and Technology (it can result in
new work methods, job redesign, and, in some cases, layoffs or lower levels of employment as
fewer employees may be needed).
Ecological Subsystem: includes the physical environment, climate, and nature resources that
influence actors and the industrial relations system.
Political Subsystem: In the industrial relations field, governments use legislative action to create
and amend legislation relative to employment issues.
Sociocultural: the values and beliefs of the society in which the actors operate can also
influence the actors, providing a sense of what is perceived as being fair and appropriate in terms
of the employment relationship.
Labour (employees and their associations);
Employers and their associations;
Government and associated agencies;
Goals: that which a person seeks to obtain or achieve
Strategies: processes developed and implemented to achieve goals Power: the ability to make someone agree to your terms
Conversion mechanisms (the processes used to convert inputs into outputs of the industrial
Collective bargaining: by which the parties negotiate a collective agreement.
Grievances: by which employees (and/or their union) can submit a written compliant that the
collective agreement has not been followed.
Day to Day relations: prior to launching a formal grievance, a worker may meet directly with
his or her manager to resolve the issue.
Various thirdparty interventions: interest arbitration (thirdparty, binding collective
agreement, most often used when workers can’t go on strike), mediation (facilitate resolution,
not binding), grievance arbitration (no resolved grievance, binding), conciliation (submit report
after assessing employer and union proposals, sent to the federal/provincial minister of labour
prior to stike/lockout), factfinding (BC, similar to conciliation) and mediation/arbitration (starts
as mediator, become arbitration).
Joint committees: joint labourmanagement committees to examine issues of common concern,
particularly in the area of health and safety.
Strikes and lockouts: can be both a conversion mechanism and an outcome.
Outputs: can be thought of as the results, or outcomes, of the conversion mechanisms.
Employer outcomes: the rights and responsibilities of management in the employment
relationship, as well as efficiency elements.
Labour outcomes: equity issues or ways to instil fairness n the workplace including – the rights
of and security of the union; hours of work, scheduling, overtime; wages and benefits.
Worker perception: workers reactions in terms of work climate; employee morale and
organizational commitment; union satisfaction and commitment.
Conflict: an output of the system can be conflict or conflict resolution.
MCGILL AND MUNACA
MUNACA 1700 + employees: office support, lab technicians, library assistants.
PSAC: parent union in Ottawa
OIP Internal community, boards, donors, alumni, media
Ecological: Under funding of English universities
Sociocultural: stigma of Ivey League Schools going on strike, 25/152 issues resolved with 23
Economic: budget deficit
Poilitical: new affiliation with PSAC
Internal Inputs: management goals, union goals, strategies and power
Conversion Mechanisms: negotiations?, injunction, picketing, secondary picketing, student rally.
Views of Industrial Relations
Neoclassical Economics View: a view of industrial relations grounded in economic that sees
unions as an artificial barrier to the free market.
Pluralist and Institutional View: a view of industrial relations stressing the importance of
institutions and multiple actors (including labour) in the employment relationship. Predominant
mainstream view in Canada.
Human Resources/Strategic Choice: A key element of this perspective is the importance of
human resources strategies and practices linked to the firm’s overall business strategy. In fact,
some scholars have argues that the human resources perspective minimizes the elements of
democracy in the workplace.
Political Economy: a view of industrial relations grounded in socialism and Marxism that
stresses the role of inherent conflict between labour and management. Common in Europe. This
view focuses on power dynamics. Chapter 5: Union Perspective 20140328
Economics: the institutional economists believed that unions would improve both the efficiency
and equity of markets by providing a greater balance of bargaining power between individuals
Politics: promoting industrial democracy
Employee voice in determining work rules
A written law of workplace rules
A binding procedure for the enforcement of the written law
A balance of power between management and labour.
Human Rights: in a unanimous vote it declared a core set of labour standards to be fundamental
human rights, thereby bringing them under the umbrella of international human rights law.
First unions must have, as one of their purposes, collective bargaining with the firm. Second, it is
clear from this typical definition that unions must be independent of the employer.
Craft or occupational unionism: unions that typically allow into membership only trades or
occupations that are in the same family of skills. Mostly preoccupied with the security and
economic wellbeing of its members. Since the primary noncollective bargaining activities are
related to promoting the craft or profession, there is often not a strong social agenda.
Industrial or MultiSkill Unionism: a type of inclusive unionism that represents a broad range of
skills and occupations. All workers of a rim at a given location or at several locations or plants.
Industrial unions is more classbased and goes beyond collective bargaining to include societal
PublicSector or Social Justice Unionism: unions of publicsector employees at all three levels
of government: local, provincial, and federal; typically advocates of a philosophy of social
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE): there is a wide range of objectives, from
promoting efficiency in the provision of public services to the elimination of discrimination in
the workplace, the conservation of the environment, and the pursuit of world peace.
Other Union Categories (independent local union or enterprise union): These organizations tend
to have limited political and social objectives. The focus of his enterprise union is almost
entirely on the collective bargaining activities of negotiating terms of employment and
resolving disputes. They are seen as embracing business unionism.
Organization and Structure
Union Size Chapter 5: Union Perspective 20140328
The relative size of unions in Canada is a rough measure of their power and influence as
organizations. The two largest unions both represent publicsector employees. (CUPE and
NUPGE) They both have shown modest growth between 2001 and 2005 in part due to the small
growth in publicsector employment.
The impressive growth over the period has been primarily due to these mergers and not new
organizing. The mergers have helped to compensate for member losses resulting from the
decline in manufacturing in Canada.
The dominant federation is the Canadian Labour Congress (72% union members). CLC’S
mandate is to advance a broad social agenda to improve the lives of all workers – that includes
the principles of social justice, economic security, a sustainable environment, and a peaceful
Unions sometimes forge with national and international organization to gain strength and exert
influence over Canadian governments at all levels.
Canadian unions that can affiliate with the CLC have the option of also affiliating with provincial
de federations and local labour councils in the provinces and cities where member are located.
Role of the Parent Union: (CUPE, UFCW, USWA) is to lobby federal government, represent
member unions internationally. (e.g. International Labour Organization)
Role of the Provincial federation: is to lobby provincial government and labour legislation.
Role of the local Labour Council: is to lobby municipal government and community programs.
Not only is democracy intrinsically good but it is also important for unions for the following
Democracy gives them a voice.
Democracy makes unions more effective: it weeds out the corrupt and incompetent.
Decisions made by the members are more likely to be implemented by the members. (= member
Having a choice is of great symbolic value and considerably increases the members
identification with their union.
Democracy unearths and trains leaders, especially the unpaid, shoplevels leaders who (in my
view) are essential for strong unions. The paid staff can’t do it all.
Collective bargaining, election of union representative, strike actions, in ratification, in pressure
Information technology has undoubtedly had a positive impact on democracy in unions, enabling
members to participate more in the activities of the union in such areas as collective bargaining
and union governance. (e.g. Email) Chapter 5: Union Perspective 20140328
Why Employees Join Unions
Collective voice: employees join unions to remedy the sources of dissatisfaction through
collective representation. Employees who perceive that their company is doing better
financially or that their industry has more growth potential have a much greater desire to join a
Utility: the theory asserts that employees will join a union if the unions are able to satisfy a
utility function. (= the sum of individual preferences for such measurable items as wages and
benefits). Unions have to be able to “deliver the goods”.
Politics or Ideology: Reasons for supporting a union may range from purely political to familial
(having a family member in a union) to communal (community attitudes are supportive for
unions). People with seniority, minority and especially women were more likely to join a union.
Why Employees leave Unions
Unionized employees who are les satisfied with their compensation and benefits also had a
greater desire to leave their unions.
Three reasons for comparing patterns with the US
Our largest trading partner (NAFTA)
Social fabric we tend to follow the US. (TV, music, fashion)
Permits a more rigorous analysis of union membership patterns.
In the past fifteen years, the rates off decline in the United States and growth in Canada levelled
off as unionization bottomedout in the US; more highly unionized industries declined in
importance in Canada; and unions encountered obstacles in organizing new members in both
Union density: a fraction that expresses union members as a percentage of the nonagricultural
Union coverage: a broader measure that union density, union coverage includes nonmembers
who are covered by the collective agreement.
Union security: the method by which unions are able to maintain membership and dues
collection in a bargaining unit
Closed shop: where membership in the union is a condition of employment. (Construction)
Union shop: where new employees must join the union but only after a probation period. Chapter 5: Union Perspective 20140328
Rand formula: where employees do not have to join the union but all employees must pay the
union dues. (most common in Canada)
There is divergence between the US and Canada on union density after the 1960s
About onethird of the difference can be explained by the higher rate of publicservice
unionization in Canada. (60 / 36.5)
Greater ability in Canada to recruit new members. (more favourable laws, affiliation between
organized labour and NDP, and an ability to resist concession bargaining)
It is easier for unions to organize because labour laws provide for faster certification procedures
and card systems that provide for automatic recognition without requirement of a vote.
Canadians tend to have a more positive collectivist view while Americans are more
individualistic in outlook, leading to less support for unions.
Therefore Canadian and US workers want unions for reasons other than economic or job
The Growing Proportion of Women
Given the decline in the rate for men, women’s union density gradually gained on men’s to the
point that in 2004 it exceeded the men’s rate. The union density increases in these overfortyfive
cohorts were due largely to more women being employed in such unionized publicsector
occupations as nursing and teaching.
Decline in Youths Densities
Onethird of the decline is due to increasing employment in traditionally nonunion industries.
Public/Private Sector Differences
Public is more than triple that of private union density.
Also varies by industries
Health care and social assistance
Harder in small companies
Full time employees are more unionized than parttime
Provincial Differences Chapter 5: Union Perspective 20140328
Newfoundland, Quebec have the highest. Alberta and Ontario the lowest.
Union Local: negotiate, ensure the collective agreement is respect and file and pursue grievances
when required. Have own form of governance: statutes, role of procedure, periodic elections,
work part time without pay, full time business agents. (Craft/occupational, industrial locals and
Parent Union: national or international. To gain strength and exert influence over Canadian
governments at all levels. (CUPE) Role: organize the unorganized, taking wages out of
competition: attempt to negotiate similar wages from one employer to the next, assist in
negotiation. Provide expertise: legal, economic, research, grievance handling, advise etc.
Provide strike support, represent membership interest outside labour movement and a number of
locals are affiliated.
Labour Congress: provincial or national presence. Role: advance broad social agenda, to
improve the lives of all workers. (CSN in Quebec)
National or provincial Congress
National or international Parent
Craft, industrial, public sector… Local
Procedure – Union Accreditation
Organizing campaign ▯list of employee’s names
Signing union cards
Contact labour board
Collective agreement Chapter 6: Management Perspective 20140328
Management’s concerns: payroll, profit, parttime, competitive product, globalization, safety,
turn over, scheduling, deadlines, political and economical situation. Chapter 6: Management Perspective 20140328
The essence of the commonlaw employment relationship pertaining to nonunion workplaces.
Significant power imbalances. The employee was akin to a servant with limited rights and
privileges. The third actor of the industrial relations system, namely the government and its
legislature, did little to help the employee.
Labour was seen as a commodity that could be bought and sold at will with little ramification to
the employer, limited consideration of the employee, and marginal court protection of the
Scientific Management (Taylorism)
Firms were concerned with mass production. As such workers, moved from performing a large
number of task to becoming specialists in a small number of tasks. (and in some cases one task)
Two key principles
Workers should be divided into simple tasks, and workers should be trained to perform a small
number of these simple tasks.
Managers should perform all planning and decisionmaking task while workers merely perform
simple tasks in accordance with the plans and decisions made by management.
A managerial view that believes that effective management practices can minimize the conflict
between managers and employees.
As such paradigm focused heavily on effective leadership as a way to improve the workplace.
Management needed to pay attention to the work environment, as well as the social needs and
satisfaction of workers, if they wished productivity to increase.
Think of the light experiment.
Arguments over if it is antiunion or not.
Taking care of your employees will increase productivity. Chapter 6: Management Perspective 20140328
Human Resources Management
Focus on issues associated with the selection, performance appraisal, training, and
compensation of individual employees.
It can be argued that it minimizes the elements of industrial democracy processes in the
workplace, as well as inherent conflict between management and workers as they attempt to
achieve their competing needs.
Equity and efficiency. Even though management are seen as focusing only on efficiency, in the
human resources studies equity have sometimes taken importance. Five elements of equity
employees require due process in the handling of complaints.
Employees are entitled to fair treatment at work.
Employees are entitled to meaningful work.
Employees need fair compensation and secure employment.
Compensation and performance appraisal
Twoway communication between the manager and the employee
The consistent application of performance standards for all employees;
The soliciting of employee input before performance evaluations and to use this input in the final
The employee’s right to challenge and/or rebut performance evaluations;
And the performance assessor’s familiarity with the employee’s work.
Distributive justice: employee’s perception of fairness in the outcomes of workplace decisions.
Procedural justice: employee’s perception of fairness in workplace procedures.
Organization justice: employee’s perception of fair treatment at work.
The Growing Role of Management
The Strategic Choice Framework Chapter 6: Management Perspective 20140328
During the industrial relations environment change in the United States from 1960 through to
1980 they noted a number of trends
A rapid decline in the number of unionized;
New locations in largely nonunion areas of the United States;
A large number of plant and business closures in the more heavily unionized states;
Decreased capital expenditures in nonunionized versus unionized plants;
A shift of products from union to nonunion plans;
A movement to unionfree industrial relations workplace.
Also saw antiunion trends in the