Nonunion Employee Representation in North America: Diversity, Controversy, and Uncertain Future
48 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2006
Date Written: April 2006
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: Suggested Citation