Sociology 2169 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Community Organizing, Population Ageing, Hegemonic Masculinity

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22 Apr 2012
Chapter 5 Unions Organizations and Organizational Change
Important Eras in Canadian Labour History
Union activity tends to be more intense in eras of relative prosperity
o Expectations rise but remain unmet
Economic downturn, recession and depression diminish activity
o Workers are in positions of vulnerability and replace ability because of high
Fudge and Tucker Three Periods of Unions?
o Liberal volunteerism
1800s, employers held upper hand in defining wages and work conditions
Most union was just in trade and craft, anyone else had a very hard time
1870s larger movements arise, (Nine-hour movement 12- >9 hours)
Not successful but caused PM John A. Macdonald to pass the Trade
Unions Act, giving unions the right to exist (exempt from conspiracy
o Industrial volunteerism
1900-1943, marked by the Industrial Disputes Investigations Act
Legal privilege to engage in freedom of association
Created compulsory conciliation and cooling off period
Corporate and government resistance kept control in the power of the
Between two world wars, activity increased giving way to Winnipeg General
Strike May 1919, 30000 workers walked of work
Canada passed legisliation on crime of sedition (creating rebel
disturbance) and many people were arrested
Than somewhat of war between people and government
More and more union activity was engaged but a lot was limited by the IDI Act
to be responsible in striking
o Industrial Pluralism
1944- End of WWII
War improved the economy and unionship doubled
Canada urged businesses to negotiate with employees in 1940
1944 passed the Privy Council which required employers to recognize union
movement and more importantly the right to collective bargaining
However could only bargain payment and benefits, not work conditions
Unions became bureaucratic and their relations with employers became
codified and systematic
1945 Rand
The Rand Formula
o Justice Rand ruled that while employees should not be require
to join a union, they should be required to pay dues
All workers would benefit from collective bargaining
This gave finance and security to unions
Unionization has become part of the economic system
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However there are many workers who are still not in unions or
marginalized by them
o Coloured men get screwed on a two tier system of bargaining
Recent Changes to Unions: Public Sector Unions and Canadianization of Unions
o Era of stability for unions came to an end in late 1960s
Rising inflation, changing attitudes, greater resistance to managerial authority
by the young, entrance of new groups into the labour force were issues unions
had not addressed before
o Strike activities became more common and union activity spread to new sectors and
White collared and middle class employees started to get frustrated
In 1967 Public Service Staff Relations Act was passed, letting
government workers collectively bargain
This brought many women into unions
o Made in Canada unions started to emerge
By 1962 66% of Canadian Union members were in international unions
By 1995 only 29% were
Started to split from American unions who did not address similar interests
Helped develop and focus on Canadian issues
o Most recently union activity has seen a decline with the liberalization of trade and
What do Unions do?
Improve the economic interests of their members, negotiate in wages and benefits, working
conditions, workplace equity, democracy and fair treatment
o The use collective bargaining to achieve this
Union member receive a union wage premium (better wages)
o As well as twice as likely to be covered by extended medical, dental and life insurance
Unionized workplace have grievance procedures that can be used to have workers fair
treatment complains heard
o Unionized workers are more likely to use it, and many non-unionized workplaces don’t
even have them in place
Also have a long history of social unionism
o Encouraging activism of members, building community-labour partnerships, and
working with political parties
Union Membership
Tells us absolute members in unions
o What union membership does not tell us is union density
Number of union workers / total employed workers
When we look at union density we can see that union membership has declined
in the past 20 years
Points to the trend that more non-union jobs are available on the
o Most common explanation for this decrease in deindustrialization (decrease in
unionized manufacturing jobs)
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Union density in goods sector dropped much farther than service sector
Also due to globalization, long-term unemployment, increase of
temporary employment,
Changes in Union Membership
Women 1978- 12%
Women 2003- 48%
o Mens unionization membership is also decreasing
Unionized workers are older than they used to be
o Not as many young workers have access to unionized jobs (frustrated demand)
o Not due to lack of support, but lack of experience
Union is public sector has stayed stable, while private sector has dropped in 25 years by 20 %
Ontario has the largest amount of union membership, but lowest union density (Quebec,
Atlantic Ontario)
International Comparison of Union Strength
o Canada ranks as a middle density country (1/4-2/3)
o Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden high density (55%-75%)
Having control over unemployment insurance allows unions to maintain some
control over labour market conditions and hence be seen necessary by workers)
Besides these four countries all countries have decreased in membership in the
last 40 years
Slowly got worse every decade
Globalization in the 1990s really helped decline in two ways (Piazza)
o National governments that interact with each other have little
room for union negotiation
o Outsourcing unionized jobs to nonunionized plants, erodes
union membership
When unions can no longer guarantee benefits, looks like a liability to
be in one
Since 1984 US data suggest strikes no longer increase the average wage of workers
o With globalization and outsourcing, today’s strikes are simply a way to keep a status quo
and employment in Canada
There are constraints on when workers can strikes
o Usually only legal when contract between union and employer has expired, and
collective bargaining can only be between certain time period
Public sector is even more limited if theyre deemed and essential service
This ensures we have essentials like nurses etc, but also limits union
power to negotiate
Annual number of strikes has decreased since 1960s (1966 Year of the Strikes 617)
o 60s also marked a change in types of strikes
Before, rights of unions to be recognized
After, contract negotiations and renewals
Public sector is more likely to strike in Canada
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