We are in a period of profound change. The combination of new technology, global trade and recurring recessions has resulted in the demise of many Canadian workplaces and the restructuring and re-engineering of many others. Today’s watchwords have become ‘flexibility’ and ‘competitiveness.’ There have been many casualties. Older workers who have lost their jobs have not easily found alternative employment. Where work has been found, it is seldom comparable in content or remuneration to what was lost. Younger workers have also been adversely affected. Caught by surprise, they too often lack the skills required in the new economy. They therefore find themselves lining up to apply for the fewer assembly and unskilled jobs that remain or for work in the service sector which pays considerably less and for which they must compete with their elders who are now unemployed. Increased structural unemployment in the double digit range has been the result.
Responding to a growing interest in the subject in recent years, this study is intended to improve our understanding of conflict management and dispute resolution systems in nonunionized workplaces in Canada. It sets out the key reasons for the increased interest in effective systems, describes the various procedures being used, and evaluates their effectiveness. The authors identify the strengths and pitfalls of various systems.