The Paradox of American Unionism: Why Americans Like Unions More Than Canadians Do, But Join Much Less

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9780801442001: The Paradox of American Unionism: Why Americans Like Unions More Than Canadians Do, But Join Much Less

Why have Americans, who by a clear majority approve of unions, been joining them in smaller numbers than ever before? This book answers that question by comparing the American experience with that of Canada, where approval for unions is significantly lower than in the United States, but where since the mid-1960s workers have joined organized labor to a much greater extent. Given that the two countries are outwardly so similar, what explains this paradox? This book provides a detailed comparative analysis of both countries using, among other things, a detailed survey conducted in the United States and Canada by the Ipsos-Reid polling group.The authors explain that the relative reluctance of employees in the United States to join unions, compared with those in Canada, is rooted less in their attitudes toward unions than in the former country's deep-seated tradition of individualism and laissez-faire economic values. Canada has a more statist, social democratic tradition, which is in turn attributable to its Tory and European conservative lineage. Canadian values are therefore more supportive of unionism, making unions more powerful and thus, paradoxically, lowering public approval of unions. Public approval is higher in the United States, where unions exert less of an influence over politics and the economy.

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About the Author:

The late Seymour Martin Lipset was Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and Hazel Professor of Public Policy and Sociology Emeritus at George Mason University. His numerous books include American Exceptionalism and Continental Divide.



The late Noah M. Meltz was Principal of Woodsworth College and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.



Rafael Gomez is Lecturer at the London School of Economics and Research Fellow at the University of Toronto's Centre for Industrial Relations.



Ivan Katchanovski is Kluge Post-Doctoral Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress.



Thomas A. Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Co-Director of the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research. He is coauthor of Healing Together, Up in the Air, The Transformation of American Industrial Relations, and, with Thomas A. Kochan and Alexander J. S. Colvin,Labor Relations in a Globalizing World, all from Cornell, and author or editor of many other books.

Review:

"...well-written, well-documented chapters that use excellent statistical evidence to consider the political philosophies that have informed unions in the United States and Canada from their beginnings to the present. Recommended for academic, special, and large public libraries." --Library Journal

"This book is destined to be a classic in industrial relations. It addresses the puzzle of why unions declined so precipitously in the United States but were sustained in Canada in spite of the similarities between the two countries." Morley Gunderson, CIBC Chair of Youth Employment, University of Toronto, Centre for Industrial Relations

" ... this book's authors illuminate the differences in labor and society between Canada and the United States. The Paradox of American Unionism contains wonderful analysis by two giants in the social sciences, Seymour Martin Lipset and Noah M. Meltz" Charles F. Doran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Johns Hopkins University

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