Workplaces in Canada have experienced a wide variety of changes. There is growing evidence that they are becoming increasingly lean, insecure, stressful, unsafe and highly controlled. While there has been considerable analysis of workplace change and its effect on workers and firm performance, much less is known about the impact on unions. This paper presents highlights of the results of a major survey of unions on their perceptions of the impact of change initiatives and their responses to these initiatives.
Many unions around the globe have been experiencing a drop in membership and a decline in density over the last ten years. The union response, as documented in this paper based on a survey of innovations and change in Canadian labour organizations, has been both defensive and pro-active, focusing on protecting current levels of wages and benefits as well as fostering social unionism.