Over the course of this century, nonunion em ployers in Canada have experimented with a va riety of ways to involve their employees in workand workplace-related issues. Their efforts have been shaped by social, legal, and economic con straints. In the 1920s the rise of the human rela tions school saw a variety of plans to involve workers in work-related concerns. In later years similar plans evolved into quality circles and work teams to seek worker input into work-related con cerns such as quality and productivity. Other firms went on to create formal employee organizations such as Joint Industrial Councils (JICs)1 to so licit employee input into decisions ranging from wages and benefits to grievances and job classi fications. While some of these plans seek work ers’ participation in integrative issues such as quality and productivity, other initiatives seek employee input on distributive issues such as wages, benefits, and grievances. Direct input from the rank and file is often labeled as participation, while indirect input from employees’ representa tives is seen as representational input. Both par ticipative and representational forms have waxed and waned in popularity over the years. As out
lined in the earlier chapters, their evolution in the United States has been shaped, at least in part, by legal strictures, such as Section 8(a)(2) in the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibit the employer from creating or dominating labor or ganizations that deal with issues of wages, ben efits, and working conditions. Such restrictions on employer-sponsored employee involvement (El) plans have never been enacted into law in Canada. Thus, if legal provisions were the defin ing constraint on El forms, we may expect a dif ferent outcome for employee participation and representation in Canada relative to the United States. The lack of empirical research on this is sue makes it difficult to address this hypothesis.