Labour Studies Index

Revitalising young workers' union participation: a comparative analysis of two organisations in Quebec (Canada): Revitalising young workers' union participation

Document type Article
Author Dufour-Poirier, Mélanie
Author Laroche, Mélanie
Journal Industrial Relations Journal
Volume 46
Date 2015 11
ISSN 0019-8692
Pages 418-433
URL http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/irj.12118

Abstract

This paper examines how two trade union organisations in Quebec (Canada) manage to integrate issues of concern to young members (30 years old and under) and spur changes in their agenda, structures and practices. Between 2009 and 2014, 25 interviews were conducted in these two organisations, while 41 focus group discussions were held with more than 430 members. We contend that improving young members' feeling of belonging to the union, enhancing internal network density and implementing more participatory forms of democracy are key elements when it comes to increasing their participation. Our findings reveal that unions must dare to integrate young members, without seeking to mould them to fit with the values and practices they deem to be outdated. It means not only training young members to carry the necessary message to their peers but also allowing them to challenge the strategic orientations suggested therein.