Union Density in Israel 1995–2010: The Hybridization of Industrial Relations

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Abstract

In the past the Israeli industrial relations system was corporatist, characterized by high levels of membership in trade unions and employers' associations, as well as broad coverage of collective agreements. The corporatist system gradually eroded from the mid-1980s, but its major transformation came with the removal of the Ghent-like system in 1995. The article observes data collected since the transformation, distinguishing between membership and coverage trends. These distinctions aid in revealing that a hybrid of two distinct industrial relations subsystems has developed. The notion of hybridization suggests that unlike past accounts, which described the substitution of the corporatist industrial relations system by a liberal-pluralist system, what actually emerges is their coexistence. Despite the path-determined nature of the Israeli hybrid, the interaction between coverage and membership is instructive for understanding strategic choices made in other European countries in which a similar gap emerged. The article notes the potential for synergy between the two subsystems and notes the actual development of rivalry and friction.

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