The SAGE Handbook of Industrial Relations provides a systematic, comprehensive survey of the field. The result is a work of unprecedented scope and unparalleled ambition. It offers a compete guide to the central debates, new developments, and emerging themes in the field. It will quickly be recognized as the indispensable reference for teachers, students and researchers. It is relevant to economists, lawyers, sociologists, business and management researchers, and Industrial Relations specialists.

Union Formation

Union formation

Research into the formation of unions has been conducted primarily in liberal market economies (especially the US, but also Canada and the UK), where union representation is determined chiefly by the level of worker support. It has involved four relatively disparate bodies of literature, addressing:

  • individual level propensities to vote for a union;
  • the organizing process;
  • labour law; and
  • macro-level economic and political conditions.

This chapter addresses each of these in turn.1 It then discusses their implications for understanding the formation of unions and suggests a future direction for work in this area.

Worker Voting Propensities and the Preconditions for Union Formation

The stated propensity to vote for a union by no means determines how workers will actually vote. However, the available evidence does suggest ...

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