Queen's University IRC

Managing People and Labour Relations in Municipal Government


Terry Wagar
Professor of Management, Saint Mary’s University

May 1, 2014

Managing People and Labour Relations in Municipal Government - Survey ResultsAlthough there has been a lot of research on the links between human resource management and workplace performance, much of the work is focused on the private sector. Moreover, there is less research addressing labour relations practices in municipal government. In discussions with government officials and in presentations to individuals employed in government there has been a particularly strong interest in the management of human resources and labour relations. Among the questions that frequently arise are: (1) what are other municipal government workplaces doing to manage human resources? and (2) what is happening in terms of labour relations in local government workplaces? The current article is aimed at addressing these questions from a practitioner perspective.

The results of this study are based on questionnaire responses from more than 250 municipal government workplaces across Canada. The survey was conducted in 2009. Respondents varied somewhat in size; 45% of the workplaces had 25 or fewer employees, 33% had 26 to 100 employees, and 22% had more than 100 employees. About 57% of the workplaces were unionized and 58% reported that their overhead costs were lower when compared to similar municipalities.

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