Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2019-04-26

In a Different Way: Social Unionism in the Nonprofit Social Services-An Australian/Canadian Comparison

Document type Article
Author Baines, Donna
Journal Labor Studies Journal
Volume 35
Date 2010 01 12
ISSN 0160-449X, 1538-9758
Pages 480-502


Drawing on comparative, qualitative data, this article explores unionization in the Canadian and Australian nonprofit social services. The article shows that the growth of unionization in this sector in Canada had little to do with deliberate strategies for union renewal. Instead, union growth and activism rose organically from the values orientation of the predominantly female workforce and the curtailment of workplace opportunities for social justice struggles. The Australian example reflects the conflux of legal contexts, political parties, managerial approaches, and the servicing model of unionism. The article concludes with a discussion of possibilities for those seeking to revitalize the union movement.