Accueil » 29-1 ( 1974) » La convention collective : un indicateur de la réalité syndicale québécoise

La convention collective : un indicateur de la réalité syndicale québécoise

Jean Bernier


À partir de distributions de conventions collectives pondérées par le nombre de salariés visés, l'auteur dégage certains indicateurs du taux de pénétration syndicale au Québec selon les secteurs d'activité, les régions et les catégories de travailleurs couverts. Il examine également la répartition des conventions en fonction de leur durée et de la taille des unités de négociation.


Workers Governed by Collective Agreements in Quebec : A Statistical Portrait

Since 1969, collective agreements filed to the Department of Labour and Manpower must indicate the number of employees governed by such agreement. It is now possible to make some distributions of the agreements in force in Québec weighted by the number of employees covered by the agreement. This paper aims at presenting a more precise view of the relative importance of this institution and of the number of workers represented by unions in each industrial sector or in each region in the Province of Québec.

The data analyzed here come from 1930 agreements, Le. all those expiring after June, 1 1973 covering 15 or more employees excluding those agreements (or decrees) in force in the public sector and the construction industry and those who were expired and had not been renewed at the time data were collected by a questionnaire administered to the agreements (summer 1973).

As to results, most of the agreements (62%) in force and most of the workers covered (58%) are in the manufacturing sector eventhough the workers of this sector represent only for 30% of the total employed labor force. Despite the fact that over 60% of the total employed labor force is in the service sector, the workers of this sector governed by such agreements represent less than one third of all those covered.

The data analysis also shows the relative importance of international unions in the Québec private sector since AFL-CIO-CLC unions have signed almost half of the agreements which determine the working conditions of about 45% of the workers covered by the analysed agreements. The CNTU comes second in ranking with 25% of the agreements and of the workers covered.

Most agreements in force (60%) are found in the Montréal area and white collar workers are far behind blue collars (in the private sector) since they count for only 11% of all the workers covered by collective agreements.

There is also a strong tendency for these agreements' duration to be close to the maximum permitted by theLabor Code (3 years). This maximum is found in half of the agreements and 64% of all agreements have a duration of 30 months and over.

If international unions have signed the largest number of agreements, this predominance is true only in the primary and secondary sector, since in the services the covered workers are spread almost evently among the CNTU, the CLC, the AFL-CIO-CLC and Others (mostly independent).

When distributed on a regional basis, the results show that the international unions dominate in Montréal and in most provincial peripheral regions. Even if the CNTU comes first in Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean and in the Eastern Township, the AFL-CIO-CLC unions compete with them in the regions of Québec, Trois-Rivières and Côte-Nord.

Three groups of unions have a regional character, the CSD in the Québec, Eastern Township and Montréal regions, the CLC in Montréal and Québec, and Others (mostly independant) in Montréal, Québec and Trois-Rivières.

The weighted distributions also show the large number of small bargaining units in Québec. Actually almost 45% of the agreements have been signed in units covering 15 to 49 employees, and altogether they do not touch 10% of all the employees governed by collective agreements in Québec. On the other hand, only 16.5% of the agreements are applicable to bargaining units covering 200 or more employees (and only 5%, covering 500 or more). But these cover more than 63% of all employees governed.

There are more large units in the primary sector than in any of the other two, and more small units in the services sector (private).

There is no significant relation between the size of the bargaining unit and the affiliation of the signing union, nor between the size of the unit and the duration of the contract, except in the very small units where the contracts have a shorter duration and in the very large units (500 and more) where the contracts are more often longer than the average.

It is not contended this study has been exhaustive. It would be interesting, using other sources of information, to see if there is a significant relation between the size of bargaining units and the frequency and the duration of strikes, or between these and the union affiliation or the industrial sector.

All was intended here was to show some of the possible uses of these data available since the 1969 amendements to theQuébec Labor ^Code.