Objectives: This assignment is intended to evaluate students’ ability to apply course theories, concepts, and frameworks to understand and provide insight into real-
world employment/labour problems and related policy issues.
Essay Topic: Are unions the most effective way to ensure balance between efficiency, equity and voice in contemporary employment relationships? Considering the
following questions may help you in constructing your essay thesis:
1.) What is the historical context in which unions developed in liberal market economies like Canada? In what ways has work and the employment relationship changed
2.) What do unions do? Why/how do orthodox pluralists propose they help to balance efficiency, equity, and voice in the employment relationship?
3.) What are the different perspectives on the relative effectiveness of unions as a governance mechanism for the employment relationship compared
to other approaches to “governing” work (i.e., market, HRM, laws, worker ownership, etc.) Are unions complements or alternatives to these other
4.) In today’s changing world of work, what challenges do unions face in remaining relevant? Are they as effective today as they were in the past?
Format: Maximum 10 pages (not including references), double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point-font, 1 inch margins. The written work should be clear, organized, and
free of spelling and grammar errors. Use of appropriate headings is encouraged to enhance readability. Structure your assignment as an essay, rather than simply
answering each question. Students must use APA style for references (https://www.apastyle.org/). The assignment must be handed in by 10:10 am on the due date. The
rubric used for marking these components and other elements of the essay is attached. Feedback will be returned with reference to the rubric.
Submission Instructions and Academic Integrity: This is an individual assignment, so please do your own work and ensure you are familiar with the University of Toronto
policy on academic dishonesty and plagiarism (referenced in the syllabus). In order to ensure that students who complete their assignments independently and in good
faith receive fair evaluation of their work, you will be required to do the following in addition to handing in a hard copy of your assignment: 1) sign and date an
academic integrity checklist and statement (attached at the end of these instructions); and 2) submit your paper on Blackboard via Turnitin (see course syllabus for
the policy regarding Turnitin). If you do not include the academic integrity statement with the hard copy of your paper, it will not be graded. Note the course
policies on late submissions in the syllabus.
Readings: In addition to the text, a few sources for the topic have been provided below to assist you in getting started on your research. Changing Workplace Review:
Hirsch, B. (2004). What do unions do for economic performance? Journal of Labor Research, 25(3), 415-455.
Kaufman, B. (2008). Paradigms in industrial relations: Original, modern and versions in-between. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 46(2), 314-339.
Pohler, D., & Luchak, A. (2015). Are unions good or bad for organizations? The moderating role of management’s response. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 53
Pohler, D., & Luchak, A. (2014). Balancing efficiency, equity and voice: The impact of unions and high involvement work practices on work outcomes. Industrial and
Labor Relations Review, 67(4), 1063-1094.
Verma, A. (2005). What do unions do to the workplace? Union effects on management and HRM policies. Journal of Labor Research, 26(3), 415-449.