Collective Bargaining and Labour Market Outcomes for Canadian Working Women

4686 Words19 Pages
Collective Bargaining and Labour Market Outcomes for Canadian Working Women I INTRODUCTION: UNIONS, LOW PAY, AND EARNINGS INEQUALITY The major purposes of this paper are, first, to examine the impacts of collective bargaining on labour market outcomes for women workers in Canada, specifically with respect to pay, benefits coverage, the incidence of low pay and the extent of earnings inequality, and, second, to suggest ways in which positive impacts could be extended via the expansion of collective bargaining coverage. This part of the paper briefly reviews the literature on the impacts of collective bargaining on earnings, low pay, and earnings inequality, and Part II provides some background description of the labour market position of Canadian working women. Particular attention is paid to the situation of the majority of women who continue to work in lower paid, often insecure and part-time, clerical, sales, and service jobs. The central conclusion of the empirical analysis in Part III, mainly based on data from Statistics Canada's 1995 Survey of Working Arrangements, is that collective bargaining coverage, controlling for other factors, has significant positive impacts in terms of raising pay and access to benefits, and in terms of reducing the incidence of low pay among women workers. However, the level of collective bargaining coverage for women is very low in precisely those sectors of the economy where women in low paid and insecure jobs are most concentrated, namely in private services and in smaller enterprises. Promoting better labour market outcomes for women workers accordingly requires a major extension of collective bargaining. Part IV of the paper briefly considers ways in which this could be achieved through trade union action and through changes to public policy. The 1996 OECD Employment Outlook comprehensively documented profound differences in the degree of earnings inequality and the incidence of low pay in the advanced industrial countries, noting that these two labour market characteristics are closely related in that "the incidence of low pay tends to be highest in those countries where earnings inequality is the most pronounced." While there is significant variation between countries, a generalized pattern is that continental European countries, particularly in Northern Europe, have a strikingly more equal distributio... ... middle of paper ... ...omen in non-unionized jobs, while for men, the wage difference was about $4.50 - or 24 per cent. The wage premium associated with unionization is shown for selected subgroups of women and men in Table 3. It is notable that the apparent union wage premium tends to be higher for less educated workers, though this is more clearly the case for men than for women. This is consistent with the fact that managerial and professional occupations in the private sector have very low rates of unionization. Table 3. Average Hourly Wages of Women and Men, by Unionization and Selected Characteristics, Canada 1995 WOMEN MEN Union Non-Union "Union Premium" Union Non-Union "Union Premium" All Age 15 to 24 Age 25 to 44 Age 45 to 69 Less than high school High school grad. Certificate/Diploma University degree Full-time Part-time Managerial/Admin. Professional Clerical Sales Services Blue Collar Firm size less than 20 Firm size 20 to 99 Firm size 100 to 500 Firm size + 500 16.68 11.23 16.92 17.37 12.16 14.60 16.56 21.38 16.90 15.95 18.59 19.49 14.47

More about Collective Bargaining and Labour Market Outcomes for Canadian Working Women

Open Document