Bad Time Stories: Government-Union Conflicts and the Rhetoric of Legitimation Strategies
Published: May 2014© 2014
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 240 Pages
Dimensions: 6.36 x 9.30
240 Pages, 6.36 x 9.30 x 0.90 in
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The 1990s and 2000s were especially difficult decades for government–public sector union relations in Canada. Rising costs and growing debts meant that governments were on the lookout for savings, and public sector unions and employees were easy targets for government actions. Bitter conflicts between unions and governments erupted and each labour dispute involved numerous rounds of public rhetoric in which both sides attempted to justify their actions and stigmatize their opponents.
In Bad Time Stories, Yonatan Reshef and Charles Keim analyse the language of both parties in order to identify the legitimation strategies at work during government-union conflict. The authors use evidence drawn from newspapers, speeches, parliamentary transcripts, and legal statements in presenting a new framework for understanding the discursive strategies employed by governments and unions in labour disputes.
Using a case study and linguistic approach, Bad Time Stories offers a unique perspective on industrial relations and will be of interest to scholars in the areas of business, public policy, and communications, as well to those directly involved in union-management negotiations.
1. Public-Sector Labour Conflicts: A Different Perspective
2. Key Concepts and a Note about the Data
3. Government Intervention in Industrial Relations
4. The Case Studies
5. Authorization-Legitimation Strategy
6. Rationalization-Legitimation Strategy
7. Moralization-Legitimation Strategy
8. Mythopoesis-Legitimation Strategy
9. It Is Not All the Same (Stories from Another Book?)
10. Findings and Conclusions
“Public sector labour disputes, particularly conflicts that affect large segments of the public, are political events. The parties not only attempt to gain advantage at the bargaining table, but also in the affections of the public through the media. By examining the language the parties use during a dispute, Bad Time Stories breaks new ground in the study of public sector industrial relations.” Mark Thompson, Professor Emeritus, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia
“Bad Time Stories brings together disparate academic traditions – linguistics, social psychology, and labour relations theory – to create a new way of thinking about union-management relations. Written in an accessible and straightforward style, it has real and interesting implications for industrial negotiators and those engaged in managing large workforces.” Anthony Morven Gould, Department of Industrial Relations, Universite Laval