Nonunion Employee Representation in North America: Diversity, Controversy, and Uncertain Future

48 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2006

See all articles by Daphne G. Taras

Daphne G. Taras

University of Calgary - Haskayne School of Business

Bruce Evan Kaufman

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2006

Abstract

The diverse conceptual perspectives and practical experiences with nonunion employee representation (NER) in the United States and Canada are reviewed. We first propose a 6-dimensional descriptive schema to categorize observed NER practices. Dimensions of diversity include (1) form, (2) function, (3) subjects, (4) representation characteristics, (5) extent of power, and (6) degree of permanence. We then turn to the NER controversy, which is a tangled skein consisting of many different threads of values and prescriptions. To unbundle the controversy, we develop four "faces" of NER - (1) evolutionary voice, (2) unity of interest, (3) union avoidance, and (4) complementary voice - so that future research can more consciously test the validity of competing perspectives with hard data. Generalizing about NER is problematic because of these many dimensions of diversity, and because NER is viewed through different ideological and conceptual lenses. We conclude that NER's future trajectory is uncertain due to conflicting trends but in the short-run is most likely to remain a modest-sized phenomenon.

JEL Classification: J5

Suggested Citation

Taras, Daphne Gottlieb and Kaufman, Bruce Evan, Nonunion Employee Representation in North America: Diversity, Controversy, and Uncertain Future (April 2006). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 06-46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=898180 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.898180

Daphne Gottlieb Taras

University of Calgary - Haskayne School of Business ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada
403-220-5685 (Phone)
403-220-0095 (Fax)

Bruce Evan Kaufman (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-651-2922 (Phone)
404-651-3299 (Fax)

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