Across Canada, union coverage is inversely proportionate to inequality. From lifting wages and securing employment benefits to advocating for public programs, union power is a bulwark against inequality.
David Doorey is a professor of labor law at York University in Toronto and a senior research associate at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program.
By preventing centralized bargaining, existing labor laws make Starbucks organizing an uphill battle. A short-lived law from 1990s Ontario points to how incremental store-by-store wins could be transformed into more powerful, broader-based bargaining.
Amazon workers in Alabama are voting on whether to unionize, but the company is able to bombard them with anti-union propaganda. In Canada, by contrast, union votes are held quickly, making it harder for companies to stack the deck — a model that can work in the United States.
Although Canadian unions are in a better position than their US counterparts, the Wagner model of industrial relations still can’t be relied on to protect vulnerable workers in either country. American and Canadian labor law need a complete overhaul.