Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Paths to Union Renewal: Canadian Experiences

Document type Book
Editor Schenk, Christopher Robert
Editor Kumar, Pradeep
Publisher Broadview Press; Peterborough, Ont.
Date 2006
ISBN 1559130587
Pages 336 p., ill.


This book focuses on the efforts and progress of union revitalization and organizing, and documents the renewal initiatives undertaken by unions in Canada. Unions, separately or in coalition with other unions or social groups, have begun to re-examine the basis of their organization and activity in the face of a harsher economic and political climate. Signs of union renewal include increased rank-and-file participation in the life of the union, increased democratic decision-making, evidence of new horizontal union structures, the development of a worker-centred societal vision, and a new emphasis on organizing both internally and externally. Paths to Union Renewal addresses a subject of considerable political and social importance about which there have been a number of debates. A key impetus for this re-examination has originated in the United States where decades-long union decline has engendered new ideas adopted by a number of unions and the national central labour body the AFL-CIO. This in turn has led to debates on renewal strategies in Western Europe and Anglo-Saxon countries from Britain to Australia. Despite this, little detailed research of the processes, structures, and implications of union renewal has been undertaken across Canada. Paths to Union Renewal fills this gap by critically examining union renewal in a variety of unions, providing a basis for informed discussion and debate on the role and place of trade unions in contemporary society. --Publisher's description



Contents: Pt. 1: Union Renewal and the State of Unions in Canada.  Union Renewal and Organizational Change: A Review of the Literature / Pradeep Kumar and Christopher Schenk -- Rowing Against the Tide: The Struggle to Raise Union Density in a Hostile Environment / Andrew Jackson -- Innovation in Canadian Unions: Patterns, Causes and Consequences / Pradeep Kumar and Gregor Murray -- Women are Key to Union Renewal: Lessons from the Canadian Labour Movement / Charlotte Yates -- Globalization and Union Renewal: Perspectives from the Quebec Labour Movement / Christian Lévesque and Gregor Murray. Pt. 2: Case Studies on Union Renewal. The BCGEU [British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union]: The Road to Renewal / Gary Steeves -- Union Renewal and the CUPE / Jane Stinson and Morna Ballantyne -- Union Resistance and Union Renewal in the CAW / David Robertson and Bill Murningham -- Rank-and-File Involvement in Policy-Making at the CEP / Keith R. Newman -- Mobilizing Young People: A Case Study of UFCW Canada Youth Programs and Initiatives / Anna Liu and Christopher O'Halloran -- Renewal from Different Directions: The Case of UNITE-HERE Local 75 / Steve Tufts -- Building Capacity for Global Action Steelworkers' Humanity Fund / Judith Marshall and Jorge Garcia-Orgales. Pt. 3: Unions and Community: Campaigns and Organizing. Community Unionism and Labour Movement Renewal: Organizing for Fair Employment / Cynthia J. Cranford, Mary Gellatly, Deena Ladd, and Leah F. Vosko -- The Workers' Organizing and REsource Centre in Winnipeg / Geoff Bickerton and Catherine Stearns -- A Community Coalition in Defense of Public Medicare/ Natalie Mehra -- Organizing Call Centres: The Steelworkers' Experience / Julie Guard, Jorge Garcia-Orgales, Mercedes Steedman,a nd D'Arcy Martin. Pt. 4: Leadership Development and Education. Increasing Inter-Union Co-ooperation and Co-ordination: The BC Federation of Labour Organizing Institute / John Weir -- Union Education, Union Leadership and Union Renewal: the Role of PEL / Johanna Weststar.