Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The thesis examines the proposition that the emergence and growth of local government unionism in Ontario, during the period 1935 to 1963, can be explained in terms of the hypothesized relationships identified in the aggregate union growth literature. Developments in both general municipal employment and the municipal utilities (hydro-electric power, urban transit and water works) are addressed. Specifically, the significance of trends in local government employment, unemployment and labour force composition are explored. This is followed by a detailed examination of local government compensation. The relevance of existing labour relations policy for local government unionism is then assessed. Finally, the contribution of union characteristics and of local authorities as employers is considered.;Each category of independent variables influences both the propensity and the opportunity to unionize, although by no means equally. In general, labour force and compensation related variables appear to impact primarily on the propensity to unionize. This is particularly true of compensation related variables. Overall, these variables interact with local government unionism in the hypothesized manner. Public policy is not a primary determinant of local government union growth during the study period. The results for union characteristics are mixed, with some variables performing in the expected fashion, while others do not. Contrary to the hypothesized relationship, employer attitudes and behaviour toward unions are identified as playing a decisive, positive factors in local government union growth.;The thesis concludes with a critical assessment of the research findings and a brief discussion of the implications of the historical development of local government unionism for contemporary collective bargaining.



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