Little can heat up a picket line faster than ‘scabs’, the derogatory term union members use to describe replacement workers.

In Bans on Strike Replacement Workers: Pouring oil on the fire,  Morley Gunderson, the CIBC Chair on Youth Employment at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, examines the effects of banning replacement workers during strikes. The Commentary is the fourth in a four part Labour Market series published this month by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

Gunderson points out that banning replacement workers during strike action has a wide range of effects that must be considered in any discussion to impose such regulation.

“What is clear is that bans do not reduce strike activity; in fact, the opposite is the case,” he says. “Such bans increase both the incidence and duration of strikes.”

He says bans also reduce employment. And, while bans bring substantial benefits to union members by increasing their wages by a greater amount than the cost of any strike, for employers the losses, in the form of both higher wages and strike costs, are substantial. The effect of this on investment decisions and any associated job creation is an open question.

To read the complete Commentary, click here.

To read the first Commentary in the series on Mandatory Wages, click here.

To read the second Commentary on Payroll Taxes, click here.

To read the third Commentary on Mandatory Retirement, click here.