Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's October 2001

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The labor movement has evolved and still evolving with issues such as globalization and rapid technological change. Labor must respond to these and other changes in the workplace. Workers, management, unions, and governments are all trying to find ways to deal with these issues. The labor process has undergone significant changes in the last fifty years. Organizations are moving away from traditional philosophies like scientific management to participative management. These fundamental changes have implications for labor and especially the role of unions. The traditional hard line adversarial approach based on the collective bargaining process is now being reevaluated. The rise of cooperative unions in response of the participative style of management has presented rift between unions. These union approaches have divided the Canadian labor movement. The nature of organized labor in Canada is in a state of transition, and many labor theorist are divided as to what action should be taken by unions to ensure their security and survival.

The preceding pages will examine both adversarial and cooperative approaches for unions and how the CAW and the United Steel Workers have responded to work reorganization.

The adversarial approach has been entrenched in the ways unions organize, fight for employees rights, and the gaining employee rights. The Canadian Auto Workers have rejected this notion of cooperative unionism, they have instead maintained there militant stand against management changes. The United Steel Workers have adopted a more cooperative approach to management reorganization and plan to be an active component when management does make changes. The unions embracing of cooperative measures might be engaging in concession bargaining and loosing power. The ignoring of cooperative measures by unions are seen as backward and resistant to change that could be beneficial to their members.

The adversarial approach is primarily based on protecting "equity driven and based...