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Union Decline, Alternative Forms of Representation, and Workplace Authority Relations in the United States

38 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2010  

John Godard

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration

Carola Frege

London School of Economics and Political Science

Date Written: November 10, 2010

Abstract

This paper draws on a telephone survey of 1000 workers to explore whether alternative, nonunion forms of representation appear to be filling the gap left by union decline, whether this matters to authority relations at work, and whether it may, indeed, help to explain union decline. It finds that non-union associations do not appear to be filling this gap, but that management established, non-union representation systems are twice as widespread as is union representation and are evaluated as favourably by workers. It also finds that unions appear to have positive implications for authority relations at work, as reflected in worker perceptions of security, fairness, and justice. Non-union representation systems do not in-and-of themselves appear to do so, but they tend to be part of a bundle of practices that, in combination, does. Finally, although the results suggest that these systems are often in violation of section 8(a)(2) of the Wagner Act, they bear no association with worker propensity to vote for a union.

Keywords: Labor Law, Labour Unions, Workplace Representation, Company Unions

JEL Classification: J50, J51, J53

Suggested Citation

Godard, John and Frege, Carola, Union Decline, Alternative Forms of Representation, and Workplace Authority Relations in the United States (November 10, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1729768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1729768

John Godard (Contact Author)

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V4
Canada
204-474-8433 (Phone)
204-275-0181 (Fax)

Carola Frege

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

United Kingdom

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