Union wage determination in Canadian and U.S. manufacturing, 1964-1990: A comparative analysis

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Abstract

The author analyzes nominal and real wage changes in unionized manufacturing firms in Canada and the United States over the years 1964-90. He finds more differences between the countries' patterns of wage determination in the years 1964-79 than have commonly been recognized. In the 1980s, the nominal wage determination structure changed more sharply in the United States than in Canada. Real wage determination changed little in the United States before 1986, while after 1986 observed real wage growth was significantly smaller than what would have been predicted based on patterns of bargaining in earlier years. In Canada, real wages in the 1980s were significantly higher than they would have been if the previous patterns of wage determination had persisted. Both the nominal and real wage change results suggest that unions in U.S. manufacturing fared poorly in wage bargaining in the 1980s by comparison with their Canadian counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-689
Number of pages17
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1996

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