Harcourt, M. & Lam, H. (2010). How much would US union membership increase under a policy of non-exclusive representation? Employee Relations, 32(1), 89-98.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3706
Purpose – In light of the low-union density and a huge representation gap in the US representation system. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of the system under majority rule and to provide some empirical evidence on how much union membership would increase in the USA if a policy of non-exclusive representation, as adopted in New Zealand, are to be implemented. Design/methodology/approach – The sample for the study consists of 227 New Zealand organizations, employing over 180,000 workers. Logistic regression is used for the analysis with the dichotomous dependent variable indicating whether there is majority union support. Findings – If the USA allowed and supported minority unionism, union membership could increase by 30 percent or more. Workers in smaller, private-sector organizations outside healthcare, education, and manufacturing are most disadvantaged by the majority-rule system. Practical implications – Given that many workers' needs for representation have not been addressed by the current US majority rule system, consideration of minority representation to enhance representation effectiveness and understanding its implications are of critical importance, especially for a democratic society. Originality/value – The paper offers empirical data on the implications of a change of the US representation system and proposes three options for incorporating minority representation.
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