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Labor Law and Reaching a First Collective Agreement: Evidence From a Quasi-Experimental Set of Reforms in Ontario



This paper examines the effects of a major labor law reform package in the Canadian province of Ontario on the negotiation of first agreements for newly certified bargaining units using a quasi-experimental research design. The findings indicate that first contract success rates were 8–14 percentage points higher under the regime that included automatic first contract arbitration relative to the comparison regime of “no-fault” first contract arbitration, despite imposition rates being only 2–4 percentage points higher. Further, in the more hostile-to-labor regime, only 38 percent of petitions ultimately reached a first agreement despite the presence of quick-votes, and “no-fault” first contract arbitration.