Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations: Volume 25

Cover of Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations

Table of contents

(11 chapters)


Pages i-vii
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Pages 1-5
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This chapter discusses the adoption by Brazilian companies of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods for individual workplace conflicts. Brazil is an interesting case to study ADR due to its high level of institutionalized individual workplace conflicts and its extensive workplace statutory regulation. Investigating the case of three Brazilian private companies of different sectors and sizes, I found that Brazilian companies are developing their own ADR practices, focusing on ombudsman offices (OOs), instead of using the mediation and arbitration methods that are predominant in the United States. I argue that the adoption of the ombudsman can be explained by institutional and workplace level factors, which include the characteristics of Brazilian industrial relations system, each company’s human resources (HRs) strategy, and the relationship between companies and unions. Furthermore, I discuss how the usage rate of the OOs might vary according to the OO’s internal structure and its functioning rules. The cases provide important insights for scholars interested in ADR in general and in Brazilian industrial relations system, as well as union leaders, HR managers, and other practitioners dealing with workplace conflicts globally.


With the rise of employer-promulgated mandatory employment arbitration, scholars have become concerned that these policies may reduce the economic viability of lower value employment claims. Of particular worry are claims made under the Fair Labor Standards Act since the FLSA does not include punitive damages. This study empirically tests the relationship between 368 Fortune 1000 companies’ employment arbitration policies and their wage and hour violations discovered during the Department of Labor inspections. Surprisingly, firms that used arbitration were found to have fewer violations and lower back wages for those violation compared to firms that did not use arbitration. This suggests that viewing arbitration merely as a cost-reduction tool may cast the practice too narrowly and instead it may be part of a larger conflict management system that seeks to address conflict at the earliest possible stage.


The informal sector is expanding in the developing countries while the formal sector is shrinking. The loss of employees through workforce reduction strategies has adversely affected trade union membership in Ghana. To make up for the loss of members, the trade unions recruit the informal workers into their fold. Using in-depth interviews, this study explores trade union organization of informal workers and the suitability of these forms of organization within the informal sector in Ghana. The results indicate that formal trade unions are desperately adopting traditional methods and structures to organize informal workers into their fold without success. There is therefore the need for the informal workers to self-organize and for the trade unions to create streams of membership for affiliation.


This chapter aims to answer whether foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) operating within the Chinese context differ from indigenous firms on several essential labor standards indicators: white- and blue-collar salaries, pension insurance, and working hours. In drawing upon neo-institutional and organizational imprinting theories and applying these to the Chinese context, the study addresses competing arguments regarding the expected effects of ownership type on these indicators. We employ seemingly unrelated regressions (SURs) to empirically examine a novel national survey of 1,268 firms in 12 Chinese cities. The regression results show that foreign MNCs do not provide uniquely beneficial labor practice packages to workers when compared with various indigenous firm types, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs), affiliate businesses of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, and domestic private enterprises (DPEs). Specifically, although MNCs provide relatively higher wage rates, they underperform relative to SOEs concerning social insurance. However, DPEs consistently underperform relative to MNCs across most indicators. The mixture of the results contributes important nuances to the application of neo-institutional and organizational imprinting theories to the Chinese context.


This chapter presents a theoretical framework of the industrial relations (IR) system in China’s coal mining industry, combining the roles of management organizations, workers, and trade unions, as well as government agencies. It is one of the first empirical attempts to investigate the relationship between human resource (HR) practices, labor relations, and occupational safety in China’s coal mining industry over the past 60 years, based on the secondary data on coal mining accidents and case studies of two state-owned coal mines in a northern city in Anhui Province, China. The fluctuating occupational safety has been affected by government regulations over different time spans, marked by key political agendas, and by coal mining firms taking concrete measures to respond to these regulations, while exhibiting differing safety performance in state-owned versus township-and-village-owned mines. The field studies compared a safety-oriented to a cost-control-oriented HR and labor relations system, and their influences on safety performance. Coal mining firms and practitioners are advised to shift the traditional personnel management paradigm to a modern HR management system. In addition, although workers are often blamed directly for accidents, it is suggested that workers’ participation and voice in various processes of decision-making and policy implementation, and trade unions’ active involvement in protecting workers from occupational hazards, be encouraged.


The chapter presents emerging evidence on the development of the platform economy, paying particular attention to the motivations for entering platform work, the conditions of platform work, and the extent of social protections afforded platform workers. Debate thus far has tended to be highly speculative and lacking in grounded empirical analysis, with policy-makers in particular actively looking to regulate platform work on the basis of its novelty as a form of employment within the wider context of the decline of the “standard employment relationship.” The chapter explores such concerns through an analysis of European Union labor market data and a unique data-set of circa 1,200 online “click workers” across four established platforms. A novel contribution of the analysis is to differentiate between those that only work on platforms (work-dependent platform workers) and those that do such work in addition to another job. The analysis suggests that work-dependent platform workers are more likely to be differentiated by their motivations for doing such work than their experiences of job quality or access to social protections. However, the relationship between platform working and levels of social protection is complex, notably in terms of combined level of social protection and the contractual arrangement of additional job holders. This leaves us to conclude that policy initiatives designed to address gaps in social protections for platform workers would be more appropriately targeted toward problems of insecure work more broadly. Finally, a number of areas for future research are outlined.


Facing the aging workforce but older workers’ vulnerability in the labor market, this chapter empirically explores factors and policy implications to enhance older workers’ entered employment rates (EER) after exiting the national workforce program. After reviewing older workers’ attributes and the unique methods to train them, the chapter examines demographic, socioeconomic, and program attributions to older workers’ EER, controlling for cyclical changes in the labor market. The chapter relies on three sets of models including logistic regression, multi-level mixed-effect regression, and multilevel mixed effect logistic regression models, as well as longitudinal Workforce Investment Act Standardized Record Data and Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment data. Older dislocated workers and older adults are examined separately. Some Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training and related service combinations are identified to contribute to older adults and older dislocated workers’ EER and to inform strategic decision-making about future allocations of funds and policy efforts to serve older workers.


The long-debated impact of right-to-work (RTW) laws took on more urgency with the passage of RTW in additional states in the twenty-first century. The impact of RTW on shareholder wealth of corporations located in four states is evaluated here: Oklahoma (2000), Indiana (2012), Michigan (2012), and Wisconsin (2015). Event study results show that RTW had a positive effect on shareholder wealth in these states, albeit an effect that was lower in Michigan than elsewhere. We argue that this is indirect evidence in support of research indicating that RTW hinders union organizing, raises profits, and reduces nonunion employee compensation.


Pages 247-257
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Cover of Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations
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Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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