Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Labour Relations and Human Resource Management in the Automotive Industry

Document type Book chapter
Author Holmes, John
Editor Nieuwenhuis, Paul
Editor Wells, Peter
Book None
Publisher Wiley; Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Date 2015
ISBN 978-1-118-80236-6
Pages 67-82


Given the difficulty generalizing across countries about industrial relations and human resource management practices, the discussion in this chapter is restricted to the United States and Canada. The chapter focuses on the continuity and change in North American auto industry labour relations. It traces the evolution of the post-war labour relations system in the North American automotive industry prior to 2000. It discusses the development of the archetypal Fordist system in the 1930s and 1940s, which produced a highly uniform pattern of labour relations across the auto industry in the United States and Canada. In the 1980s, Japanese automakers and their key suppliers introduced key elements of Japanese production methods (JPS) to North America. By 2012, not only had differences in bargaining outcomes narrowed between the United States and Canada but there was a new reality in which ‘union and non-union work in the auto industry have been rendered indistinguishable’.