The Changing Workplace: Reshaping Canada's Industrial Relations System


306 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55028-404-5
DDC 330'.0071




Reviewed by Gerald J. Stortz

Gerald J. Stortz is an assistant professor of history at the University
of Waterloo.


Daniel Drache teaches political science at York University. Harry
Glasbeek specializes in labor law at Osgoode Hall Law School on the same
campus. What they have written, however, is a far cry from the typical
academic analysis. It is rather a call for action on the part of
Canada’s trade unionists to change the current industrial relations
system. As they state in the introduction, “as long as workers remain
confined within the existing regimes, they will be fighting with one
hand tied behind their back.” What follows is an incredibly detailed
argument that takes into account such factors as globalization, the
rights—real and perceived—of unions, and, in particular, the role of
the state. In the end, Drache and Glasbeek conclude that “[t]hey
[unions] must see themselves as agents for radical redistribution,
rather than as hard bargainers who seek to maintain or increase the
share of the productive pie for their own members.” The authors then
go on to suggest ways in which unions can change the system to their

Often turgidly written, this is not an easy book to read. In addition,
some readers will find the authors’ argument unrealistic. For example,
which governments in Canada are likely to make it easier for unions to
organize? And, in an era in which even New Democratic governments often
are seen as anti-union, who is going to agree to change a system that
benefits employers, governments among them? The arguments themselves,
however, are interesting and should provide a basis for lively
discussions between those on both sides of the labor relations process.


Drache, Daniel., “The Changing Workplace: Reshaping Canada's Industrial Relations System,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 2, 2023,