PowerShare is a partnership between the Centre for Future Work and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives with support from the Atkinson Foundation. It is a multi-year independent research project to study workers’ collective voice and agency in the future of work. Work is changing due to many forces: technology, business models, labour regulations and policies, and social attitudes. Will workers have a real say in what work becomes? Will they have the voice and power to meaningfully shape the future of work, and protect their interests?

The traditional foundations of worker power in workplaces – such as unions and collective bargaining, wage regulations, and occupational demarcations – have been challenged by digital technology, the growth of platform work and ‘gigs’, and a creeping individualization of work culture and employment relations. But an efficient and fair labour market needs effective structures and practices through which workers have the voice and power to create a world of better, fairer work.

How can traditional mechanisms of worker voice and agency evolve to reflect the new realities of work? And what new practices and structures could help to redress the imbalance between people who work for a living (in increasingly varied ways) and those they work for?

Specific topics that will be considered in the course of the project include:

  • Trade Union Responses to the Changing Future of Work: Lessons from Canadian and International Experience
  • Identity and Collective Power: How Gender, Racial, and Cultural Communities of Interest can Build Stronger Voice and Agency
  • A Workers’ Agenda for Regulating Technological Change
  • The Economic and Social Benefits of Worker Voice: Why Inclusive Workplaces Work Better
  • Environmental Transitions, the Future of Work, and Worker Agency.

You will find publications and updates from the PowerShare project here.