Regardless of the workplace, country or continent, unions are facing the same refrain: globalization, flexiblization, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, individualization and so on. Traditional forms of action are being questioned, past gains have to be renegotiated, and it is difficult for workers to make themselves heard. How should unions respond to these new challenges? What kinds of innovation should they explore and what paths of renewal should they favour?
As part of its project on rethinking institutions for work and employment in a global era, under the auspices of the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT - Université de Montréal, Université Laval, HEC Montréal) invites you to an in-depth examination of union renewal. Organized in collaboration with a range of union partners in Quebec, Canada and abroad, this international colloquium will bring together in Montreal, for three days (November 18, 19 and 20), a wide range of renowned experts and labour movement activists, staff and leaders.

We are launching a special invitation to trade unionists so that they can make the most of this opportunity offered to them to discuss the challenges of renewal, within a context that fosters brain storming, learning and sharing of experiences. The program’s activities are divided into two main parts: first, the
Forum on Union Renewal and, then, the Study Day on Union Research.

The
Forum on Union Renewal will focus on recent union experience and take place on November 19th. To respond to the needs of trade unionists, community activists and researchers, ten interactive workshops will allow them to discuss their views on union renewal. These workshops will showcase outstanding contributions from the research community and the union experience. The workshops will be organized according to five major themes: 1) the challenges of economic restructuring, 2) unions and political action, 3) the organization of the union and its members, 4) union life and and internal democracy and 5) community and international alliances. The workshops will end with a plenary session in which participants can get an overview of the workshop themes and hear the reactions of union leaders.

Set for November 20th, the
Study Day on Union Research will highlight recent research on union renewal. Many international experts on this theme will be in Montreal and will present research results that illustrate the kinds of innovations being pursued by unions, here and elsewhere, to respond to the many challenges they face. The presentations will be organized according to seven major themes: 1) understanding the dynamics of union renewal, 2) building new organizational capabilities, 3) building new agenda, 4) building networks, 5) building democracy, 6) building new partnerships with employers & the State and 7) building an innovation culture. Where do innovations come from? Although this study day will be mainly devoted to exchange and discussion between researchers, it is likely to prove valuable to all those interested in these themes.