A Model of Responsive Workplace Law
(2012) 50 Osgoode Hall Law Journal 47
45 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2011 Last revised: 3 Sep 2014
Date Written: December 28, 2012
The North American workplace law model is broken, characterized by declining collective bargaining density, high levels of non-compliance with employment regulation, and political deadlock. This paper explores whether 'decentred' or "new governance" regulatory theory offers useful insights into the challenge of improving compliance with employment standards laws. It argues that the dominant political perspective today is no longer Pluralist or Neoclassical, but 'Managerialist.' Politicians with a Managerialist orientation reject the Pluralist idea that collective bargaining is always preferred, and the Neoclassical view that it never is. Managerialists accept a role for employment regulation and unions, particularly in dealing with recalcitrant employers who mistreat their employees. The fact that Managerialists and Pluralists agree on this latter point creates a space for potential movement on workplace law reform. A law that encourages high road employment practices, while fast-tracking access to collective bargaining for low road employers could both encourage greater compliance with employment regulation, while also facilitate collective bargaining at high risk workplaces. This paper examines lessons from decentred regulatory scholarship for the design of a legal model designed to achieve these results. In particular, it develops and assesses a 'dual regulatory stream' model that restricts existing rights of employers to resist their employees' efforts to unionize once they have been found in violation of targeted employment regulation.
Keywords: labor, labour, labour law, labor law, employment law, regulatory theory, new governance, decentred regulation, unions, collective bargaining,risk
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