Does Non-Union Employee Representation Act as a Complement or Substitute to Union Voice? Evidence from Canada and the United States


  • Paper prepared for “Employee Representation in Non-Union Firms” special issue sponsored by Industrial Relations.


This paper examines two central questions related to non-union employee representation (NER) in Canada and the United States. First, using Taras and Kaufman's (2006) four faces NER approach, we ask whether non-union and union forms of voice act as substitutes or complements for employees at the workplace? Second, we ask whether non-union forms of employee representation serve to deflect any latent desire for traditional union voice. We find that NER is negatively related to the presence of unionization at the workplace; it appears to reduce the desire to be unionized. This substitution effect proves to be stronger in Canada than in the United States.