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Feminism and unionism in New Zealand.

In 1991, a new labour relations regime was introduced in New Zealand that overturned a hundred year old pattern of bargaining between capital and labour. In a labour market heavily inflected by gender and race, the radical change from occupational awards to enterprise or individual contracts has already widened the pay gap between men's and women's average earnings and reduced union membership, particularly among women in low paid clerical, sales and service work.(1) The gendered impact of the Act has set back not only unionism in New Zealand, but also feminism.

In the 1970s and 1980s, some significant improvements were achieved for women at work and in the union movement - equal pay, a Charter of rights for working women, increased union leadership by women, specific representation of women and Maori in the Federation of Labour, and legislation for parental leave, sexual harassment complaints procedures, equal employment opportunity programmes and - very briefly - independent comparable worth assessments between male and female dominated occupations to provide pay equity. These gains were facilitated by a particular conjunction of occupational unions and feminism, in that they owed much to the efforts of large unions with women leaders and large female memberships.

Patterns of labour relations regulation are political outcomes reflecting the changing interests and unequal power of unions, employers and the state.(2) 'The unions', however, are not unitary but comprise groups of women and men in different employment situations with differing interests in labour relations regulation. In the 1970s and 1980s feminist unionists constructed new sets of interests to be represented in bargaining and in the changing legislative framework. These interests were set back when employers and the government withdrew from New Zealand's "historic compromise"(3) on labour relations, the award bargaining system - to the detriment of collective organisation by women.

Occupational Unions and the Gender Division of Labour

The gender division of labour was identified in the work of Heidi Hartmann and Zillah Eisenstein as a key point of intersection in the complex relations between capitalism and patriarchy.(4) Feminist historians and sociologists began to examine the connections between the active practices through which jobs are gendered male or female, the segregation of men and women in workplaces and in the labour market, and the gap between the average earnings of women and of men.(5)

Although the tasks which women and men perform vary historically and between cultures, the most persistent and most internationally consistent characteristic of labour markets is differentiation between 'women's work' and 'men's work.' Occupational segregation survives wars and economic crises, restructuring and technological revolutions.(6) Where populations vary by race (or caste) within a country or when labour processes are internationalised, certain occupations also become characteristic of particular racial groups as well as being gendered.(7) The New Zealand labour market shows a similar pattern of job segregation by gender and by race, with Maori and Pacific Island women concentrated in a very limited range of low paid jobs.(8)

In discussing the practices through which jobs become gendered and racially marked, Cynthia Cockburn argues that:

Behind occupational segregation is gender differentiation, and behind that again is male power, which has to be confronted directly. The slow and steady route to change is undoubtedly through women's autonomous organisation outside and inside trade unions and political parties, changing the nature of demands concerning training and work.(9)

Feminist unionists in the United States,(10) Britain and other countries have been critical of the under-representation of women in positions of union leadership, particularly at national level. Women have encountered difficulties in raising concerns specific to women members within male dominated union organisations.(11) Feminist historians have researched efforts by women to organise autonomously in ways which suited their own needs.(12) Tensions with male unionists and accusations of disloyalty and divisiveness marked the "limits of unionism" for women in the United States in the 1920s and 1940s.(13) US feminists in the 1970s "dismissed unions as vehicles for female activism", sharing the view of some labour historians of unions as "confining institutions designed to hold workers in check rather than to liberate them."(14) However, labour historians and labour relations analysts have tended to focus on male workers, under-reporting the occupations and militancy of women.(15) More recently, feminist historians have begun to examine "the specific conditions under which unions have been effective vehicles for female collective action and empowerment."(16)

Non-feminist commentators have often seen lower levels of unionisation among women(17) as a problem pertaining to women, rather than to the unions.(18) A typical focus is on family responsibilities and other barriers to union participation, and women's concentration in occupations which are inherently difficult to organise. Such factors are important in New Zealand but, as Marion Crain writes:

These justifications for women's unorganisability have relieved scholars and unions from the need to seek alternative explanations that would raise fundamental questions about the definitions of work, collective organisation and collective action, labour power, and the structure of labour law itself.(19)

It was just such questions that arose in my own research on unions organising clerical workers, nurses and cleaners. The extent of change that would occur in New Zealand's labour relations legislation was not anticipated when I began the project in 1989. However, it provided a unique opportunity to consider the collective organisation of New Zealand women under two distinct labour relations regimes.

It also documented the fact that, by the 1980s, some New Zealand unions had become "effective vehicles for female collective action."

Feminist Activism in the Union Movement

My initial focus was on union strategies. In 1989 the pay equity campaign was taking off with a flurry of petitions, stickers and tea-towels. In Cathedral Square in Christchurch, the clerical union had a lunchtime stall with information on employment equity, sexual harassment and the breakdown of its award talks. Some might have thought New Zealand history shows unionism as strikes and pickets by seamen and miners, but clearly some unions were doing things differently. Why do some unions representing large female membership prioritise 'women's issues' while others do not?

From around 1975, greater numbers of New Zealand women became active in their unions. They organised autonomously as women and mounted campaigns for legislative changes which would benefit women in paid employment. The route to change through union organisation has not been "slow and steady" as Cockburn suggests, but in fact rather rapid - although some "limits to unionism" and some political defeats have been experienced. Greater progress was made on some issues here than in Australia, but feminist union activism was facilitated by the patterns of award bargaining and occupational unionism traditional to both countries.

Although the gendering of jobs and occupational closure against women are means by which women are disadvantaged in the labour market,(20) Dorothy Cobble has suggested that occupational segregation also offers potential for autonomous organisation and collective action among women.(21) The New Zealand union movement provides an example of this.

In both New Zealand and Australia, minimum wage rates were traditionally set for particular occupational labour markets by state arbitrated bargaining between employers' representatives and a registered union with exclusive coverage of that occupation. This institutionalised bargaining was intended to support industrially weak workers. From 1936 in New Zealand forms of compulsory union membership(22) underpinned the unionisation in low paid female dominated service occupations, giving high female unionisation rates relative to other countries.(23) In the late 1970s feminist women began to move into more unpaid and paid positions in the unions to which they belonged. Women were entering unions

armed with a much more critical feminism than their seniors . . . adapting not only to the demands of union work but striving to alter its style and content.(24)

Their goal was not only to get more women actively involved in unions but to make unionism more relevant to women. Occupational unions covering female-dominated areas of work, together with inter-union women's committees, provided autonomous "political spaces for women" to organise effectively around issues specifically relevant to women at work. The concept of "political space for women" was developed in historical work on women in United States unions.(25) Women created 'cultural space' by organising in women-focused ways which often had a social dimension.(26) Feminist union officials in New Zealand tried to increase the participation of women members in this way. However, the term "political space" more accurately describes the way women-led unions and union women's committees within the union movement (and sometimes outside it) were used as bases for organising gender politics within the union movement. It was from these political spaces that political campaigns were mounted, aimed at changes in labour relations legislation that would allow negotiation on matters specifically relevant to women workers, such as sexual harassment and pay equity.

Many of the issues, debates and strategies of feminist unionists in New Zealand mirrored women's union activism in other countries,(27) as ideas traversed national boundaries through feminist and union contacts. Autonomous organisation in women-only groups was an important feature of 1970s feminism worldwide. In New Zealand the "political space" provided by large unions for female dominated occupations was a feature of the labour relations system itself,(28) in that unions organised by occupation reflected the gendered structure of the labour market. What was new in the 1980s was that leadership positions in such organisations began to be filled by women - with women-dominated executives, women presidents and some women union secretaries. As in other countries, women officials prioritised issues like pay equity, equal employment opportunity, parental leave and sexual harassment.(29)

Among private sector unions, the clerical workers and shop assistants unions took the lead on women's issues in the 1970s, gaining women leaders by the 1980s. The Post Primary Teachers Association gained feminist leadership in the 1980s, working on issues with the Women's Committee of the Public Service Association, which had led the struggle for equal pay in the 1950s. By the 1980s the Bank Officers Union had predominantly women members and took up the issue of equal employment opportunity in the private sector. Nurses have traditionally been led by women, but from the mid 1980s they began to take both a stronger industrial and a more strongly feminist stand.

These were large union organisations by New Zealand standards. Although some lacked industrial leverage, they were able to wield a great deal of power in the federal organisations of the union movement where votes were based on membership numbers. In political arenas, broad based campaigns for legislation change led by these unions had the power to influence policy because of the potential of an identifiable 'women's vote.'(30)

In addition to the few large female-dominated unions in which women achieved leadership, feminist unionists created additional "political spaces" in a series of women-only groups and committees inside and outside the union movement. These allowed women to meet, to learn from each other and to strategise across the boundaries of particular unions, and across boundaries between the union movement and the women's movement. Positioned variously inside and outside the union movement, early groups trod a fine line between credibility with unions and control by them.

It was from outside the union movement, for example, that the Working Women's Council developed a Working Women's Charter in 1976 and campaigned for its adoption by the Federation of Labour in 1981, and by individual unions. The Charter put child-care, reproductive rights, equal pay for work of equal value and other concerns of women on the agenda of the union movement. From 1976 women's sub-committees of the District Trades and Labour Councils and the national Federation of Labour were very active, but had advisory powers only. To achieve more independence, the Auckland Working Women's Resource Centre was established in 1984 (and has just celebrated its tenth birthday). Although funded by unions as well as subscriptions and housed in the Trade Union Centre, it had the organisational autonomy to tackle new issues like sexual harassment and "workplace pornography." In 1993, Wellington women felt 'women's issues' were again receiving insufficient attention and set up a Wellington Working Women's Resource Centre along similar lines.

In unions in which women did not have the 'critical mass' to achieve leadership, women's committees were formed - for example, the Public Service Association in the 1950s, the Hotel and Hospital Workers Unions in 1986, and the Post Office Union in 1990. In 1986 women and Maori unionists worked closely together to win narrowly a vote for Maori and women's standing committees in the new NZ Council of Trade Unions covering both public and private sectors. Five years later in the Service Workers Union a similar struggle, supported by membership votes, led to full representation in decision making for standing committees for women, Maori and Pacific Island members.

The labour market concentration of Maori and Pacific Island women and men in particular occupations has not provided the 'critical mass' in union organisations to secure significant participation in leadership. Issues raised by Maori and Pacific Island workers and by the Maori runanga of the NZCTU have met less success than those of women. These groups feel little real weight has been put behind those policy commitments which have been achieved. Nor has the union movement forged the links it might have with well-organised Pacific Islands communities, or with the strong organisational and political bases from which Maori have been highly effective over the 1980s. This situation led in 1990 to the formation of a Maori union, Te Ropu Kaimahi Maori, independent of the NZCTU.(31)

Feminist Unionist Strategies

Through case studies of unions for nursing, clerical work and cleaning, I identified a set of strategies developed by union women's groups and women-led unions for female dominated occupations which I labelled as "feminist unionist" strategies. These were:

(1) An emphasis on union education for members, with a strong feminist consciousness-raising element and a focus on self-esteem;

(2) Campaign-style organising around issues of specific interest to women workers, in cooperation with non-union women's organisations.

(3) Drawing on women's political power rather than industrial strength (which is weak or constrained in the most typical female occupations), to alter the legislative framework for negotiating with employers.

(4) Revaluing women's work, particularly through the comparative reassessment of the skills involved in typical female jobs.

These contrasted with strategies that were referred to by some of unionists I interviewed as "classic unionism" - that is, work-site organising, delegate structures, activism by rank and file members, pickets and strikes. These tactics are most effective on large production sites or at strategic points in the economy or infrastructure - seldom in women's low paid service work. My case studies documented the vulnerability felt by women union members on small work-sites in which employment relations become highly personalised. It was the limitations of 'classic' tactics, as well as the need to make unionism more relevant to women in the face of voluntary unionism, that led to the development of alternative feminist unionist strategies.

Tensions between these two sets of strategies underlay gender politics within the New Zealand union movement in the 1980s. However, strong similarities existed between the political strategies of feminist unionism and the role that union leaders had always played in developing and changing the legislative framework for labour relations. The Compact between NZCTU leaders and the Labour government, along the lines of Australia's Accord, was just such a political strategy to widen labour relations policy to include input on the 'social wage' of education, health, superannuation and welfare entitlements.

A strand of the Compact strategy, however, was the reorganisation of the union movement by industry or sector rather than occupation, on a corporatist model drawn from such countries as Sweden and Austria.(32) However, industry based unions and union federations elsewhere are criticised for under-representation of women in positions of leadership.(33) While men's occupations are patterned by industry, the markets for women's skills often span industries - for example, cleaning, customer service and, especially, clerical work. Women's labour market disadvantage operates through and is much more marked by occupation than by industry groupings. However, this concentration in particular occupations can also provide strength to pursue common interests, and union organisation that reflects gendered occupations has facilitated the growth of feminist unionism.

The Impact of the Employment Contracts Act

The shift from occupational award bargaining to enterprise or individual contracts introduced in New Zealand by the Employment Contracts Act 1991 has been well reported in Australia. The gendered impact of the Act has perhaps been less emphasised.

Most - but not all - awards were rolled over just before the passing of the Act. This meant that for most workers, 1992 was the first year of negotiations under the new Act. Employers put pressure on penal rates and collective negotiations, despite employees' right to collective enterprise contracts enshrined in the Act. Unlike awards, contracts are not public documents, although those covering 20 or more employees must be lodged with the Department of Labour.(34) The Industrial Relations Centre at Victoria University in Wellington began compiling an unofficial register of collective contracts. Of contracts gathered one year after the Act, those covering "mainly men" showed a mean annual increase of 0.37% but only 0.14% for those covering "mainly women." The few contracts with productivity payments or an increase of 4% or more were significantly more likely to be for "mainly men." Almost all the contracts had been achieved at a cost to workers of concessions in leave, hours of work and penal rates.(35)

These negotiations were conducted against a background of around 15.5% joblessness. All benefit rates were cut in April 1991, with no unemployment benefit for those under 18, a youth rate benefit for those under 25, and no minimum wage for those under 20. Court arbitration is no longer an option on contract negotiations, although employees have the right to strike - against their own employer but not to secure a multi-employer contract. Under the old occupational awards and compulsory unionism, alternative labour had also to be paid award rates and would become members of the union. This is no longer the case, making lockouts an option increasingly used by the employer.(36)

The essential shift has been from a labour relations system that supported collective bargaining to one that favours individual contracts(37) - yet almost no research is being done on workers who are now on individual contracts, written or assumed. A random phone survey as part of a 1992 Labour Department study excluded respondents in firms with four or less employees because they were unlikely to have a collective contract. By September 1992, Harbridge estimated that numbers covered by collective contracts had dropped 45% over two years and these people were most likely to be employed in the small firms of the private sector.(38)

This is the situation of many women working in offices, tearooms, restaurants and hotels, and shops. It is in these areas that unions have had most difficulty in retaining members, because of the vulnerability of those who work closely with their employer, and because of the sheer number of separate enterprise negotiations into which the old awards had now fragmented. The experience of clerical union officials, for example, was that members tended to leave or remain with the union en bloc, and that this was related to ability to secure a collective enterprise contract.(39) In the northern area alone, clerical union officials struggled to translate 50 national awards and agreements into around 3,500 separate enterprise contracts. Sections of the Service Workers and Distribution Workers memberships presented similarly fragmented bargaining situations. The Services Workers Union reported a 32% drop in membership; the Distribution and General Workers Union around 30%. The northern clerical union lost 45% of its membership and joined the Service Workers Union, while the clerical union with coverage from Taupo to Dunedin disbanded, under the auspices of the NZCTU. The male-dominated Amalgamated Workers Union, covering similarly scattered, casualised employment, suffered similar losses.

The Employment Contracts Act fragments the collective strength of workers to the enterprise level and offers industrial action as the sole recourse of workers to secure a collective contract. However, study of the clerical, nurses' and cleaners' unions(40) shows that contract outcomes cannot be read directly from assessments of union strength or willingness to strike. Variation in outcomes resulted from particular configurations of factors shaping both the collective strength of workers and the interests of their employers. Although the Act shifted the balance of bargaining power further towards the employers,(41) factors affecting an employer's contract choices were the industrial strength of the workforce, the number of employers in a particular labour market, and management interests in areas other than labour relations. A few multi-employer contracts have resulted from situations of tight competition between a limited number of employers in an industry (for example, contract cleaning, security, service stations) while other employers concerned with competitive position have pushed for individual contracts only (for example, private health).

Factors affecting workers' ability to bargain collectively were workplace logistics, short hours and high turnover which fragmented collectivity, and the number of enterprise contracts which their unions were now required to negotiate to cover the membership. An additional factor common in women's service work, particularly in health and education, is the notion of moral constraints on taking industrial action that adversely affects patients or children.(42) However, under pressure from their state employer, 'professional' nurses and teachers are choosing to exercise an industrial leverage which is available to few other women workers.

The Effect on Feminist Unionism

Over the post-war decades, New Zealand women's rate of unionisation appears to have matched that of men, relative to their workforce participation. Under-representation in union leadership was criticised by women members in the mid 1970s but by 1991 the number of women in paid and unpaid positions of union responsibility had greatly increased.(43) However, only the most strongly female-dominated unions had women as union secretaries, the position of greatest power in relation to taking initiatives and decision making.

In February 1993, a survey of NZCTU affiliates confirmed the major de-unionisation of women in the private sector,(44) particularly those in clerical, service and retail jobs.(45) Clerical, service and retail work are three of the four occupations, along with white collar technician, which Dorothy Cobble nominated as

The prototypic worker(s) of the post-industrial era . . . the workers to whom organised labour must now appeal if it is to survive.(46)

The Employment Contracts Act has impacted not only on women's union membership but on their participation in union leadership and decision making. Among surveyed NZCTU affiliates, women remained. well represented in paid and unpaid union positions - except for union presidents and union secretaries. As unions shed staff and amalgamated to survive, there were now fewer women union secretaries representing fewer members, particularly in the private sector. In the estimation of a union secretary representing shop workers, the impact of enterprise contracts on the workload of the union:

. . . has had a real impact on our ability to carry on with the things that we have identified which are important and one is to increase the participation of women, increase women organisers, more women secretaries.

And what of progress on the issues which union women have raised? A five year campaign had led to the Employment Equity Act, which was passed in September 1990.(47) This established a process for independent comparable worth assessments between female dominated and male dominated occupations, and required large private sector firms to implement equal employment opportunity programmes. This Act was repealed in December 1990 as part of the new National government's strategy to 'free up' labour costs, along with benefit cuts and the abolition of award rates. While the Employment Equity Act aimed at closing the gap in average wages between men and women, the first full round of bargaining under the Employment Contracts Act was reflected in a widening of the gender pay gap in earnings statistics for early 1993.

While collective rights have been reduced, in keeping with the free market individualism behind bargaining 'reform', procedures for enforcing individual rights have been expanded. In 1987, discrimination and sexual harassment were added to unjustified dismissal and undue duress on union membership as grounds for personal grievance procedures through the Labour Court. These personal grievance procedures were included in the Employment Contracts Act, but can now be accessed by any employee, not just through a union. However, the increase in cases and delays of six-to-eight months for a hearing make this impractical as a means of protection. Compensation rather than job reinstatement is now the court's main remedy.

Other gains of the 1980s remain. The equal employment opportunity requirements of the State Sector Act, 1988 are still in place, although progress has been affected by continual state sector restructuring. The 1972 Equal Pay Act remains in force and may present some possibilities for action under the Employment Contracts Act.(48)

Pay equity remains on the agenda of both the Labour Party and the Alliance. The question is to what extent, if in power, these parties would repeal or merely amend the enterprise contracts regime. Would they provide a labour relations framework that would reverse the de-collectivisation and de-unionisation of low paid women? Would this provide a framework for collective bargaining under which pay equity assessments could be delivered on a meaningful scale?

As with some of New Zealand's other free market experiments, the 'route to change' for both feminists and unionists will be political and collective. The success of individual politicians like ex-Finance Minister Ruth Richardson is both transient and unlikely to involve policy changes benefiting women. One of the strong arguments favouring electoral change to proportional representation has been the likely increase in women and Maori Members of Parliament. This reached a high point at the 1993 election, with 21 women elected, the first Pacific Island man and the first Maori woman to be elected to a general seat,(49) Sandra Lee. This is 21 women out of 98 MPs, and those 21 are half the women who have ever sat in the New Zealand House of Parliament. The shift to Mixed Member Proportional voting may help achieve the 'critical mass' of women in politics that many women believe is necessary to change leadership, perceptions and priorities.


From the 1970s, the conjuncture of feminist activism and occupational unions facilitated campaigns which resulted in some gains for women in paid employment in New Zealand. These included a Working Women's Charter, more women leading unions, parental leave, procedures against sexual harassment at work, equal employment opportunity programmes and - briefly - pay equity legislation. But this activism and these successes were predicated on a labour relations system which supported the unionisation of women in scattered, low paid jobs and meaningful collective bargaining by people with little industrial leverage.

While such a framework existed, New Zealand unions have indeed provided a vehicle for change for women through the 1970s and 1980s. The New Zealand example may help to overturn stereotypes held by some women about unions and by some unions about women. In the words of one feminist unionist:

They say that women being in unions weakens the union, stops them being so militant. Women are busy talking about sexual harassment and 'peripheral' issues. But when you look at the organising that women have done and the power that women have had to change things . . . women are a very positive source of organisation.

Linda Hill


1. Statistics NZ, "'Hot Off the Press': Quarterly Employment Survey," February 1993, February and May 1993, June 1993; Patricia Sarr, Shifting Sands: Women in NZ Unions, Wellington: NZCTU, May 1993.

2. Bob Jessop, "Corporatism, Parliamentarism and Social Democracy," in Philippe C. Schmitter and Gerhard Lehmbruch eds., Trends Toward Corporatist Intermediation (London: Sage, 1979): 185-211; James Holt, Compulsory Arbitration in NZ: The First Forty Years (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1986).

3. Phrase used ironically by Bruce Jesson, Fragments of Labour (Auckland: Penguin, 1989): 17.

4. Heidi Hartmann, "Capitalism, Patriarchy and Job Segregation by Sex," Signs (1976): 137-169; "The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union," in Lydia Sargent ed., Women and Revolution: The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism (London: Pluto, 1981): 1-42; Zillah Eisenstein, Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979).

5. Sylvia Walby, Gender Segregation at Work (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1988): 2; Harriet Bradley, Men's Work, Women's Work (Cambridge: Polity 1989).

6. Cynthia Cockburn "The Gendering of Jobs: Workplace Relations and the Reproduction of Sex Segregation," in Sylvia Walby, 1988: 32; Ruth Milkman, Gender at Work: The Dynamics of Job Segregation by Sex during World War II (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987).

7. Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour (London: Zed Books, 1986); Annie Phizacklea, "Gender, Racism and Occupational Segregation," in Walby, 1988: 43-54; Linda Hill and Sally Harvey, "NZ Women and the International Division of Labour," Women's Studies Conference Papers, Rotorua, 1990.

8. Van Mourik, J. Poot and J.J. Siegers, "Trends in Occupational Segregation of Women and Men in NZ," NZ Economic Papers 23 (1989): 29-50; D. F. Smith "Occupational Segregation Amongst White Collar Workers in NZ," NZ Economic Papers 17 (1982): 37-49; Peter Brosnan, "Maori Occupational Segregation," Australia & NZ Journal of Sociology 23.1 (1987): 89-103; "Pacific Island People: Migrant and Minority Workers in the NZ Labour Market," paper to Migrant Workers Information and Human Rights Conference, Melbourne (Wellington: Industrial Relations Centre, Victoria University, December 1988); National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women, Beyond the Barriers: The State, The Economy and Women's Employment, 1984-90 (Wellington: NACEW/Dept Labour, 1990); Ministry of Women's Affairs, "Labour Market Segregation: A Discussion Paper," unpublished paper, 1991; "1991 Census of Population Occupational Statistics by Sex," unpublished tables, 1993.

9. Cynthia Cockburn, 1988: 41.

10. United States views are favoured in this discussion since NZ's shift from occupational to enterprise bargaining in 1991 has parallels with changes in the US after World War 11 which limited unions to organising and negotiating company by company. See Dorothy Cobble, "Organising the Post Industrial Workforce: Lessons from the History of Waitress Unionism," Industrial & Labor Relations Review 44.3 (1991): 432; Peter Boxall, "Towards the Wagner Framework: Change in NZ Industrial Relations," Journal of Industrial Relations 32 (1990): 523-43.

11. Marion Crain, "Feminising Unions; Challenging the Gendered Structure of Wage Labor," Michigan Law Review 89 (1991): 1155-1221; Jenny Beale, Getting It Together: Women as Trade Unionists (London: Pluto, 1982); Cynthia Cockburn ed., "Trade Unions and the Radicalising of Socialist Feminism," Feminist Review 16 (1984): 43-73; Nicole Charles, "Women and Trade Unions," Waged Work: A Reader, (London: Feminist Review, 1986): 160-185; International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Equality: The Continuing Challenge - Strategies for Success (Brussels: ICFTU, 1991): 43.

12. Sarah Boston, Women Workers and the Trade Unions (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990); Dorothy Cobble, "Rethinking Troubled Relations between Women and Unions: Craft Unionism and Female Activism," Feminist Studies 16.3 (1991): 419-436; Dishing it Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991); Alice Kessler-Harris, "Problems of Coalition-Building: Women and Trade Unions in the 1920s," in Ruth Milkman, 1985; Ruth Milkman ed., Women, Work and Protest: A Century of US Women's Labour Movement (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985): 110-137; Milkman, Gender at Work, 1987.

13. Milkman, Gender at Work, 1987.

14. Cobble, 1990: 519.

15. Hartmann, 1976; Boston, 1980: 13; Linda Dickens, "Women: A Rediscovered Resource?" Industrial Relations Journal 20.3 (1989): 167-175; Cobble 1990: 520; Karen Roper "Introduction: Women and Industrial Relations: A Neglected Area of Research," NZ Journal of Industrial Relations 1 (1984): 1-3; Maryan Street, The Scarlet Runners: Women and Industrial Action (Wellington: Working Life Communications, 1993): vii-xii.

16. Cobble, 1990: 519.

17. International Labour Organisation Women at Work 2 (1988): 4; Crain, 1991: 156; ICFTU 1992: 40-41.

18. Thomas S. Moore, "Are Women Workers Hard to Organise" Journal of Work & Occupations 13.1 (1986): 97-111; Alan Geare, Joyce J. Herd and John Howells, Women in Trade Unions: A Case Study of Participation in NZ, Industrial Relations Research Monograph No. 6 (Wellington: Victoria University, 1979); Gerard Griffin and John Benson, "Women and Trade Unions: An Attitudinal Survey," NZJIR 9 (1984):23-32; "Barriers to Female Membership Participation in Trade Union Activities," Labour and Industry 2.1 (1989): 85-96.

19. Crain, 1991: 1158.

20. Walby, 1988: 1; Anne Witz, "Patriarchal Relations and Patterns of Sex Segregation in the Medical Division of Labour," in Walby, 1988: 74-90.

21. Cobble, 1990: 537.

22. Which came under pressure in the 1970s from the National Party and from dissatisfied members. This led to a 16 month period of voluntary unionism from February 1984 until July 1985, when Labour again allowed award clauses to be negotiated requiring employers to give "unqualified preference" to union members when hiring. These clauses were subject to support for such "compulsory unionism" being shown by ballots of union membership, repeated every three years. Almost all such ballots were in favour.

23. Urban Research Associates, P. Hyman and A. Clark Equal Pay Study: Phase One Report (Wellington: Dept of Labour, 1987); Prue Hyman, Women and Economics: A NZ Feminist Perspective (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1994): 132; NZ Clerical Workers Assn., "Submission to the Royal Commission on Social Policy," November 1987: 12-13.

24. Edmund Heery and John Kelly, "'A Cracking Job for a Woman': A Profile of Women Trade Union Officers," Industrial Relations Journal (1989): 201.

25. Milkman, 1987: 94-96, fn.49; Cobble, 1990: 541; Crain, 1991: 1169.

26. Kessler-Harris, 1985.

27. Cockburn, 1984; Valeria Ellis, "Current Trade Union Attempts to Remove Occupational Segregation in the Employment of Women," in Walby, 1988: 135-156.

28. In the 1940s and 1950s, leadership and the voting power of the large female-dominated clerical union, as well as of the seamen's union, was important to the power of one charismatic Federation of Labour leader, Fintan Patrick Walsh. See Carolyn Moynihan, On Your Side: History of the Northern Clerical Administrative and Related Workers Union, 1936-1986 (Auckland: Northern Clerical Union, 1986): 21, 51; Dick Scott, 151 Days: Official History of the Great Waterfront Lockout and Supporting Strikes, February 15-July 15 1951 (Christchurch: Labour Reprint Society, 1952-1977); Michael Bassett, Confrontation '51: The 1951 Waterfront Dispute, (Wellington: Reed, 1972).

29. Jennifer Curtin, "Women, Trade Unions and Equal Pay," Papers of the TUEA/Tertiary Research Conference, Wellington, June 1991.

30. Jack Vowles and Jack Aimer, Voters' Vengence: The 1990 Election in NZ and the Fate of the Fourth Labour Government (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1990): 178; Heather Devere, "Women's Political Behaviour and Sexism in Political Science," Women's Studies Conference Papers, (Auckland, 1991).

31. Sid Jackson, "Te Ropu Kaimahi Maori o Aotearoa", Race Gender Class 13 (1992): 16-19.

32. NZ Council of Trade Unions, Strategies for Change: Challenges for the Trade Union Movement of Today (Wellington, 1989); "The Compact and the Direction of Economic Policy," (Wellington, 1990); Owen Harvey, "The Unions and the Government: The Rise and Fall of the Compact," in John Deeks and Nick Perry eds., Controlling Interests: Business, the State and Society in NZ (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1992); ACTU/TDC Australia Reconstructed: ACTU/TC Missions to Western Europe (Canberra: Australian Government Publications, 1987).

33. Boston, 1980; Beale, 1982; Crain, 1991; Anna Booth and Linda Rubenstein, "Women in Trade Unions in Australia," in Sophie Watson ed., Playing the State: Australian Feminist Interventions, (Verso, 1990); Anne Trebilcock, "Strategies for Strengthening Women's Participation in Trade Union Leadership," International Labour Review 130.4 (1991): 407-426.

34. In 1991 the typical NZ firm employed 6-10 people and it was only among these and still smaller firms that employment growth was occurring. Less than 1% of business locations had more than 100 workers, although these employed 25.4% of all employees. Total employment by "100+" firms had declined 19.6% since 1987.

35. Suzanne Hammond and Raymond Harbridge, "The Impact of the Employment Contracts Act on Women at Work," NZJIR 18.1 (1993): 15-30; Raymond Harbridge and James Moulder, "Collective Bargaining and the Employment Contracts Act 1991: One Year One," paper to One Year On Seminar, Victoria University of Wellington, May 1992.

36. Rebecca MacFie, "Employers' Use of Lockouts Under the Employment Contracts Act 1991: A New Balance of Power?" NZJIR 17.3 (1992): 319-31.

37. Kevin Hince, "From William Pember Reeves to William Francis Birch: From Conciliation to Contracts," in Raymond Harbridge ed., Employment Contracts: New Zealand Experiences (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1993): 10.

38. Harbridge, 1993: 46.

39. NZ research confirms evidence elsewhere, however, that union negotiated contracts showed better base rates than those negotiated by other bargaining agents or employees themselves. See Ian McAndrew, "The Structure of Bargaining Under the Employment Contracts Act," NZJIR 17.3 (1992): 259-282; Jane Blaikie, "Unions Just Do it So Much Better," Labour Notes 10 (1993): 10; Curtin, 1991.

40. For greater detail on contract outcomes for these unions, see Linda Hill and Rosemary du Plessis, "Tracing the Similarities, Identifying the Differences: Women and the Employment Contracts Act," NZ Journal of Industrial Relations 18.1 (1993): 31-43.

41. Gordon Anderson, "The Employment Contracts Act 1991: An Employers' Charter?" NZJIR 16.2 (1991): 127-142.

42. For Australian examples of this, see Liz Ross, "Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves . . . and Us," Hecate 13.1 (1987): 83-99; Judith Besant, "Good Women and Good Nurses: Conflicting Identities in the Victoria Nurses' Strikes, 1985-86", Labour History 16 (1992): 155-73.

43. Patricia Sarr, Out of the Chorus Line: The Progress of Women in NZ Unions (Wellington: NZCTU, May 1992); Public Service Association, Women in Trade Unions, Research Paper No. 4, September 1976.

44. Union ("professional association") membership has always been both voluntary and high in the state sector, and continues to be so under the ECA.

45. Sarr, 1993.

46. Dorothy Cobble, "Union Strategies for Organising and Representing the New Service Workforce," address to IRRA Conference, Rutgers University, NJ, 1991: 76.

47. Coalition for Equal Value Equal Pay, Just Wages: History of the Campaign for Pay Equity 1984-1993, Wellington, 1993; Margaret Wilson, "Employment Equity Act 1990: A Case Study in Women's Political Influence, 1984-90," in John Decks and Nick Perry eds., Controlling Interests: Business, The State and Society in NZ (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1992): 113-131.

48. Prue Hyman, "Equal Pay for Women After the ECA: Legislation and Practice - The Emperor with No Clothes?" NZJIR 18.1 (1993): 44-57.

49. Voters who opt for the separate Maori roll elect MPs to the four Maori seats created in 1867. One of these has long been held by a woman, Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan.
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Title Annotation:Special Aotearoa/New Zealand Issue
Author:Hill, Linda
Date:Oct 1, 1994
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