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WHY WEAK UNIONS IN FRANCE

Yonatan Reshef
School of Business
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 2R6 CANADA

TRADITIONAL EXPLANATIONS

UNION FRAGMENTATION

CLOSED SHOP AGREEMENTS ARE PROHIBITED TO PROTECT INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHETHER TO JOIN A UNION

A LEGACY OF UNIONS' ANARCHO-SYNDICALIST ROOTS. FRENCH UNIONS HAVE TRADITIONALLY PUT MORE EMPHASIS ON HAVING AN ACTIVE CORE OF MILITANT ORGANIZERS, RATHER THAN RECRUITING A STABLE MASS MEMBERSHIP

COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS APPLY TO MOST EMPLOYEES, WHETHER THEY ARE UNIONIZED OR NOT

NO SPECIFIC WELFARE BENEFITS ACCRUE TO UNION MEMBERS

PATERNALISTIC EMPLOYERS/MANAGERS

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

RESTRUCTURING OF THE ECONOMY WITH JOBS SHIFTING FROM MANUFACTURING TO SERVICES 

THE INCREASING NUMBER OF SMALL FIRMS

MAJOR CHANGES IN THE LABOR MARKET: RISING UNEMPLOYMENT, INCREASING PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT; INCREASING TEMPORARY FIXED-CONTRACT EMPLOYMENT

CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARD UNIONS, ESPECIALLY AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE

EMPLOYERS ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE SOPHISTICATED IN THEIR HRM PRACTICES. FOR EXAMPLE, MORE AND MORE MANAGERS HAVE LEARNED HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR WORKERS OUTSIDE THE FORMAL EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION SYSTEM. ALSO, MANAGERS ARE LEARNING HOW TO INDIVIDUALIZE EMPLOYMENT THROUGH FLEXIBLE-TIME ARRANGEMENTS

GROWING SELF-CRITICISM BY UNIONS DUE TO THEIR INEFFECTIVE STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF NEW CHALLENGES



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