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Traditional collective bargaining practices in the United State

One key fi nding of this book is that changes in the external environment are
challenging many traditional collective bargaining practices in the United States.
Since the 1980s, there has been much experimentation in labor relations among
a signifi cant number of companies and unions and worker advocacy groups. At
the same time, confl icts have emerged between a number of unions and employers
and the nation has experienced a signifi cant decline in union representation.
Which of these three developments will dominate labor relations in the future?
Will experiments with new forms of worker voice and representation, participation,
and labor-management partnerships diffuse and become the foundations for a
new model of U.S. industrial relations? Or will unionism continue to decline
and will new models of representation fail to grow as labor and management
remain locked in a stalemate over the future of national labor policy?
Or will the profound changes occurring in the work force, the nature of work,
the role of the corporation, and the relationship between work and family life
result in broader changes in employment and regulatory policies that reshape the
labor relations system of the twenty-fi rst century? These are some of the key
questions facing policymakers and labor relations professionals today. As we examine
these issues in this chapter, we identify some different paths labor relations might
take in the years ahead and share our own views on these questions.
When considering future possibilities, it is necessary to examine the various
channels through which the government can infl uence the conduct of collective
bargaining. The most important federal statute that affects collective bargaining
is the National Labor Relations Act. Government labor policy includes administration of this statute and other statutes dealing with collective bargaining such as
the Railway Labor Act.
The nation ’ s labor policy is also shaped by an array of regulations that govern
employment conditions, training, and other aspects of the labor market. Labor
relations and employment conditions also are affected by economic and social
policies. The social security system, for example, affects the earnings and retirement
decisions of workers. And state and local government laws and ordinances are
The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and
Labor Relations
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410 Part V. Special Topics
playing more and more signifi cant roles in the regulation of employment practices,
in large part because of the political stalemate over federal policies.
Thus, national labor policy, defi ned broadly, includes general economic and
social policies, labor relations policies, and employment and human resource
policies. Table 16.1 outlines the key components of our current national labor
There have been very few successful efforts to create a national dialogue about
labor policies in the United States. We review the major efforts to create
Table 16.1 Selected components of national, state, and local labor policies
General economic and social policies
Labor relations policies
Employment and human
resource policies
Aggregate monetary and fi scal
Railway Labor Act Wage and hours legislation
(e.g., Fair Labor Standards
Act, Davis-Bacon Act)
Incomes policies Norris-LaGuardia Act Equal employment
opportunity laws,
regulations, and
enforcement efforts
Trade policies Wagner Act Occupational Safety and
Health Act
Immigration policies Taft-Hartley Act Employee Retirement
Income Security Act
Antitrust policies Landrum-Griffi n Act Unemployment insurance
Regulation of multinational
Civil Service Reform Act of
1978, Title VII of Civil
Rights Act of 1964
Social security system
Environmental protection
Postal Reorganization Act of
1970, Public Law 91-375
Workers’ compensation
Energy policies State employee bargaining
laws and policies
Job Training Partnership Act
and related employment
adjustment programs
Productivity improvement and
capital formation policie
Programs to improve
Industry regulatory policies
(hospitals, transportation, etc.)
Family and medical leave
Welfare policies Living wage and state
minimum wage policies
Corporate governance
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 411
labor-management dialogue and the results of such efforts below. We also
look at an emerging trend toward expanding the array of voices engaged in discussions about the future of work and the future of labor policy.
National-Level Committees
From the 1930s through the 1990s, labor policy discussions were largely limited
to representatives of business, labor, and, in some cases, government. While input
from other groups and the public was sometimes sought, serious debates and
efforts to reach compromise or consensus tended to come down to discussions
among these three large groups. At the turn of the twentieth century, for example,
various national investigative commissions examined labor conditions and problems.
National labor relations commissions issued reports in 1880, 1902, and 1915. The
1915 commission, for example, cited the absence of industrial democracy and
inadequate working conditions as two of the most serious social problems of the
time. The reports of these commissions were used as background material by
those who wrote the New Deal labor legislation in the 1930s. 1
Other labor-management committees were created during wartime. Presidents
Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt created national war labor boards to
promote labor peace and wage stability during World Wars I and II, respectively.
These boards were generally successful in fulfi lling their mandate during wartime.
Both, however, failed to keep labor and management working together at the
national level after the wars. In 1945, for example, following the end of World
War II, President Truman called labor and management representatives together
in a national conference to try to work out principles for continuing the cooperation
achieved during the war. But efforts to reach an accord broke down over labor ’ s
demand for a commitment to union security and management ’ s demand for some
stated limit on the scope of labor ’ s infl uence over employment issues.
While every president from the 1930s through the 1960s established one or
more top-level labor-management advisory committees to deal with various issues,
this tradition was abandoned in the 1970s and has not been renewed. Instead,
several private national-level committees have been formed in recent years.
Some of the committees that functioned with government encouragement
continued to meet privately after the public effort dissolved. For example, the
top-level committee that functioned in 1974–1975 when John Dunlop was secretary
of labor continued to meet under private auspices with Dunlop as chair for years
after he left offi ce. This group discussed various labor policy issues beyond collective
bargaining problems. Their view was that collective bargaining issues are best
discussed at more decentralized levels between the parties that are directly involved.
Bargaining issues, they believed, are too controversial to be settled through national
labor-management dialogue.
In 1985, Malcolm Lovell, a former undersecretary of labor, established the
Collective Bargaining Forum, a group composed of top union and corporate
leaders. The forum, which continued to meet until 2005, discussed long-term
strategies for improving collective bargaining. Box 16.1 includes excerpts from
one of the forum ’ s reports.
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412 Part V. Special Topics
BOX 16.1
Toward a New Labor-Management Compact
In 1988, the Collective Bargaining Forum (an informal working group of
major union and corporate leaders) adopted a statement of principles. The
statement includes the following:
We recognize that the institution of collective bargaining is an integral part
of American economic life. We recognize that unions cannot be expected to
expand their work with management to improve the economic performance
of domestic enterprises and to help those fi rms adopt to technological, market,
and other changes, if they are not accepted by employers and public policy
makers as having a legitimate and valued role in the strategic decisions of
the enterprise and in public policy making. It was also clear to us that employers need to expand their cooperative efforts with unions to revitalize U.S.
industry and retain and expand opportunities for secure well-paid jobs for
American workers. . . . The Forum, therefore urges adherence to the following
Acceptance in practice by American management both of the legitimacy of
unions and a broader role for worker and union participation.
Acceptance in practice by American unions of their responsibility to work
with management to improve the economic performance of their enterprises,
in ways that serve the interests of workers, consumers, stockholders, and
Encouragement of a public policy which assures choice, free from any coercion,
in determining whether to be represented by a union and which is conducive
to labor-management relations based on mutual respect and trust at all
Acceptance by American corporations of employment security, the continuity of employment for its work force, as a major policy objective that
will fi gure as importantly in the planning process as product development,
marketing, and capital requirements.
The Forum also developed a Compact covering procedures needed to
put its principles into practice. This compact suggests a new set of obligations
and responsibilities that transcend and expand traditional collective bargaining
relationships. The Compact states, “Our purpose is to formulate standards
or ‘rules of the game’ with respect to certain fundamental aspects of the
relationship.” The Compact suggests standards for governing joint efforts
to improve the economic performance of U.S. enterprises: acceptance of
unions within companies and in U.S. society; the promotion of employment
security, worker participation, and worker empowerment; improved confl ict
resolution; diffusion of innovations in labor management relations; and
development of common positions on public policy issues.
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 413
Overall, national business-labor forums have had little direct effect on the
practice of collective bargaining. Several factors have made it diffi cult to change
labor relations through national-level dialogue in the United States. These include
the highly decentralized structure of U.S. collective bargaining, the absence of a
unifi ed strategic view within the labor movement or the business community
over labor issues, and, in some cases, deep-seated ideological disagreements between
labor and business leaders over labor policy. On the other hand, these forums
build personal and professional relationships among top-level business and labor
leaders that can be drawn on to address problems or respond to national crises.
Nevertheless, the absence of any functioning national dialogue forums may limit
the nation ’ s capacity to mobilize broad-based support for labor policies in the
Local and Regional Government Dialogues
There have also been efforts to promote labor-management dialogue at the local
and regional levels of the country. These labor-management committees usually
include representatives from labor and management and community politicians.
Almost all have been started with the leadership of one individual. 2
The Jamestown,
New York, committee, for example, developed largely out of the efforts of the
former mayor of the city.
Area (local or regional) committees have tended to grow out of an economic
crisis, such as plant closings. This was the motivation in Jamestown. In a few
communities, such as Toledo, Ohio, the initial stimulus was a high number of
Area committees have mobilized community resources to attract new business
and have encouraged local education institutions to respond better to industrial
needs. Area committees also have attracted federal and state economic development
funds. Such committees, however, rarely have been able to convince employers
or local unions to change collective bargaining practices. Plant-level managers
and union offi cers often reject the recommendation of area committees that they
institute collective bargaining on the grounds that they interfere with their prerogatives. Nonetheless, involvement in civic affairs has proven to be a useful networkbuilding activity for local union and management leaders. Relationships developed
While the companies and unions that signed this Compact generally
remained committed to it throughout the years the forum was active, the
Compact generated little attention with other companies and unions and,
like other national groups, had a limited lifespan.
Source : Labor-Management Commitment: A Compact for Change, Views from the
Collective Bargaining Forum,” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Management
Relations and Cooperative Programs, Report No. 141, 1991.
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414 Part V. Special Topics
through involvement in community affairs have helped many union leaders build
coalitions with immigrant groups, religious leaders, and elected offi cials that have
supported organizing campaigns and bargaining processes.
The Limits and Contributions of
Labor-Management Dialogue
Our participation in a variety of national and area labor–management committees
has left us with ambivalent feelings about their potential contributions. None of
these efforts seem to be producing reforms suffi cient to stem job losses or slow
declines in union membership, none have changed the attitudes of employers
who are ideologically opposed to unionization, none have produced a new coherent
strategy to foster employee participation, and none have produced a consensus
about what changes are needed in national labor policy. They have, however,
been helpful in solving specifi c problems and building trust among leaders who
otherwise might not know each other. The decline in the number of these
network-building forums, therefore, is another worrisome development in U.S.
labor relations.
Concern about the future of work has led a number of groups, from the U.S.
Department of Labor to universities such as Cornell, MIT, and others, and various
think tanks and foundations to bring diverse stakeholders together to discuss ways
to improve the future of work. These meetings often include labor and business
leaders but are not limited to these two groups. They tend to include men and
women, immigrants, racial minorities, entrepreneurs, representatives of various
new worker advocacy groups, and experts in new emerging technologies. The
growing popularity and number of such gatherings signal a recognition that the
voices of all of these groups (and perhaps others) will be heard in future discussions
of labor and work force policies.
American labor law does not change often or easily. The National Labor Relations
Act was passed as one of the last major reform efforts of the New Deal. It took
the deep economic and social crisis of the Great Depression and the fear that
American-style capitalism might be at risk to build the political support necessary
to pass that legislation. In 1947, in response to a wave of strikes, the Taft-Hartley
amendments to the NLRA were passed to rebalance power by limiting the use
of secondary boycotts, closed-shop clauses, and other actions deemed to be unfair
union bargaining practices. A series of widely publicized union corruption scandals
are what led to the Landrum-Griffi n Act in 1959.
Efforts to update or amend labor law in the absence of a deep crisis have been
largely unsuccessful. For example, in 1977 the Carter administration failed to pass
labor law reforms aimed at stiffening the penalties for employers that violate the
rights of workers in organizing campaigns. There has been a general stalemate in
efforts to reform and update national labor policy that dates back almost forty
years to the failed effort to enact labor law reform in 1977–1978.
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 415
The Dunlop Commission
An important attempt was made to resolve the long-standing impasse over labor
policy when the Clinton administration took offi ce in 1993. The new administration
established the national-level Commission on the Future of Worker-Management
Relations (known as the Dunlop Commission, since former labor secretary John
T. Dunlop chaired the commission) to recommend ways to update national labor
policies in ways that would improve the nation ’ s competitiveness and raise workers’
standards of living.
The commission was charged with answering the following questions:
1. What (if any) new methods or institutions should be encouraged, or required,
to improve workplace productivity through labor-management cooperation
and employee participation?
2. What (if any) changes should be made in the present legal framework and
practices of collective bargaining to increase cooperative behavior, improve
productivity, and reduce confl ict and delay?
3. What (if anything) should be done to increase the extent to which workplace
problems are directly resolved by the parties themselves rather than through
recourse to state and federal courts and government regulatory bodies? 3
The commission issued two reports: (1) a fact-fi nding report in which it
reviewed the current state of labor-management relations and arrayed the evidence
presented to it; and (2) a fi nal report and recommendations that outlined its
proposals for reform. 4
Box 16.2 summarizes the major recommendations in the
fi nal report.
However, the Dunlop Commission ’ s recommendations gained no support from
business, labor, or government offi cials. Why was this the case? Two reasons can
be suggested.
First, the recommendations sought to fi nd a compromise within the existing
framework of the National Labor Relations Act that would be acceptable to both
business and labor. Essentially the compromise was to loosen the constraints on
employee participation fi rms could implement in nonunion settings (something
of great interest to the business community) and to strengthen the protection of
workers seeking to organize a union. The evidence presented in the commission ’ s
fact-fi nding report documented the need for both of these changes. But neither
labor nor business were willing to make these compromises in their positions.
Second, the shift in control of Congress from a Democratic to a Republican
majority that occurred in November 1994 in the midst of the commission ’ s work
ended any hope that it could build enough support for a change in national labor
policy. This shift in political power further polarized the positions of both business
and labor. Labor leaders made the judgment that they could not get the Republican
Congress to seriously consider any changes in labor law that might benefi t workers
or unions; thus, they preferred to remain with the status quo. Business leaders
concluded they could go to Republicans in Congress directly and lobby for only
the changes in labor law they favored; thus, they preferred to see the commission ’ s
recommendations ignored.
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416 Part V. Special Topics
BOX 16.2
Recommendations of the Dunlop Commission
• Facilitate growth of employee involvement in workplace improvement teams
or committees by clarifying Section 8(a)(2) of the NLRA.
• Continue the ban on company unions.
• Reduce the scope of exclusions from NLRA coverage for supervisors and
• Authorize use of pre-hire agreements when an employer opens new
• Hold union representation elections before legal challenges to bargaining
units from either employers or unions are resolved by the NLRB.
• Use court injunctions to remedy discrimination against workers in organizing
• Use mediation and, when necessary, arbitration to resolve disputes over fi rst
• Increase the access unions have to employees during the organizing process.
• Encourage companies to adopt alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
• Support voluntary use of arbitration to resolve disputes over statutory rights.
• Require arbitration systems to meet specifi c standards relating to quality and
due process.
• Encourage employee participation in the development/administration of ADR
• Forbid agreements that make arbitration for statutory disputes a condition of
• Simplify and standard the legal defi nitions of “employee,” and “independent
• Use an economic realities test to separate independent contractors from
• Use an economic realities test to determine the employer of contingent
• Expand “single” and “joint” employer defi nitions to clarify whether one or
both employers are responsible for complying with labor law.
• Expand the use of negotiated rulemaking by the NLRB when developing
new workplace regulations.
• Promote self-regulation of workplaces where high-quality ADR systems are
in place.
• Create national and local forums to promote ongoing learning and dialogue
between labor and management.
Source: Final Report and Recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Worker Management
Relations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1995).
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 417
The key conclusion from this experience is that no compromise deal exists
that would be acceptable to labor and management within the existing structure
of labor law. Thus, neither leaders in Congress nor in the Clinton administration
demonstrated an interest in or a willingness to take up these issues on their own
in the face of the ongoing stalemate between labor and business. In fact, the issues
once again went off the national agenda altogether, along with most other employment policy issues. 5
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the labor movement hoped to
achieve labor law reform by promoting the Employee Free Choice bill, which
would have allowed card check recognition (see chapter 3 ) to suffi ce as a demonstration that a majority of workers in a bargaining unit wanted representation.
While the House of Representatives passed the bill, it failed to muster the sixty
votes needed in the Senate to break a Republican fi libuster against the bill.
If major reforms in collective bargaining will not come from the normal policymaking processes of government or from labor-management committees, one might
reasonably ask what might lead to such changes.
One answer to this question is that changes must come from outside the
interest-group structure that perpetuates the current system. Recall that the ideas
behind the New Deal labor relations system did not come from organized labor
or business; they came from the institutional economists who had studied labor
problems for over thirty years before the Wagner Act was passed. It may be that
we are in a similar situation now. The logjam over labor policy will require ideas
that in the short run may not be completely acceptable to either (or certainly
not to both) labor or management but that need to be developed by people or
groups willing to consider new approaches to labor policy. We will consider this
as one potential direction for future labor policy.
There are three possible strategic directions for future national labor policy.
One approach would continue the labor policies of the last twenty years. The
emphasis would be on further deregulation of product markets and reliance on
the market to determine employment conditions. This strategy would emphasize
the policies shown in column A of Table 16.1 and deemphasize the policies in
columns B and C.
Alternatively, the strategy could focus on the policies in column B and marginally
reform the National Labor Relations Act by attempting to revive the deliberations
started in the Dunlop Commission or by reintroducing a modifi ed Employee
Free Choice bill or some other bill that revises but does not fundamentally change
or expand on the doctrines in existing law.
A third policy approach would recognize that much more fundamental changes
in national policies are needed and would see labor policy reform as part of a
broad effort to promote a new social contract for the workplace that updates the
full range of employment practices to refl ect changes in the economy, in
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418 Part V. Special Topics
technologies, in characteristics of the work force, and in how work is done today.
If stakeholders could reframe the policy debate and broaden who is involved in
the debate, it might be possible to remove the label of “special interest politics”
that has been used to describe labor policy discussions. A broad policy debate has
the potential to address the fading belief in the American Dream, a dream that
had held that each generation should experience an improved standard of living.
The three policy approaches are discussed in more detail below.
Strategy 1: Reliance on Deregulation and the Market
One strategy for national labor policy would involve extension of the deregulation
wave that began in the late 1970s and has continued to some degree ever since.
The primary objective of deregulation is to increase competition in a product
market. Thus, this fi rst strategy would seek to further limit federal regulations.
The federal government has been reducing regulation of the labor market since
the mid-1970s. From 1960 to 1975, the number of employment regulations
administered by the U.S. Department of Labor tripled. 6
However, except for the
WARN Act of 1989 and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, no major
new labor regulations have been enacted since 1975, when the deregulation era
In addition, over the last forty years, funding for many social welfare and
employment programs has been frozen, reduced, or conservatively administered. 7
The federal budget for employment and training activities, for example, was cut
substantially until it received a major infusion of funds as part of the Obama
administration ’ s stimulus bill that was designed to counter the effects of the Great
Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Another example of cutbacks is the
fact that the number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration employees
was reduced by 25 percent in the early 1980s alone. Although President Obama
rebuilt staffi ng for both OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S.
Department of Labor during his eight years in offi ce, the number of inspectors
has not kept up with the growth in the labor force or the number of workplaces
covered under these laws. Welfare benefi ts were dramatically altered in the 1990s
by placing lifetime limits on the length of time individuals would qualify, implementing work requirements, and eliminating benefi ts for many immigrants. Thus,
under this fi rst policy approach, funding cuts or freezes such as these would
continue to be enacted for programs that affect workers.
The Case for Further Deregulation
Why not extend deregulation policies and allow market forces even freer rein
to determine employment conditions? The basic argument in favor of product
market deregulation and limited labor market regulation is twofold. The fi rst part
of this argument is that market forces allocate labor extremely effi ciently, in part
because of the pressure the market puts on labor and management to maximize
profi ts.
A second part of this argument is that if market pressures are blocked, ineffi cient
practices can develop. If that happens, society will bear the cost of the output
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 419
that will be lost from misallocated resources. In addition the parties who will
absorb the costs of later adjustments to market pressures may need help from
federal or state governments at some point. Some would extend this argument
to further suggest that today ’ s global economy makes regulation of domestic labor
or product markets futile since businesses can outsource work to lower-cost or
less-regulated countries if regulations become too burdensome on businesses. 8
Even if one does not like the outcomes market forces generate, it is not clear that
appropriate alternative policies can be successfully designed or implemented. This
is another recommendation for limited regulation of product and labor markets.
Criticisms of a Market and Deregulation Policy Approach
Those who argue for reliance on market forces and a deregulation policy
approach presume that the market will lead to outcomes that society will fi nd
acceptable. Recent debates over trade agreements (see Box 14.4on the TransPacifi c Partnership Trade Agreement) have focused on the gap between the
higher-income segments of populations, who tend to be the benefi ciaries of free
trade, and the middle- to lower-income workers who absorb a disproportionate
amount of the losses of jobs and income due to international free trade. These
distributional aspects of deregulation strategies are now recognized as issues that
need to be addressed even by those who generally favor this strategy. Similarly,
attention has focused on the limited health care benefi ts Walmart gives its employees
and accusations that in many other ways, Walmart has taken advantage of its
market power by not paying wages or benefi ts suffi cient to keep a signifi cant
number of its employees off food stamps and other forms of public assistance (see
Box 16.3 ). Critics worry that an unregulated market will lead to a “Walmartization”
of the U.S. employment system.
Normative arguments against reliance on the market alone to determine
employment conditions were articulated in the early years of this century by
institutional economists of the Wisconsin School. The institutionalists stressed
that labor is more than an economic commodity and that confl icts of interest
between employees and employers are inherent and enduring. Put simply, competitive labor markets may leave too many workers in a weak bargaining position
with their employers and give workers too little job security.
For these reasons, the early institutional economists supported policies designed
to allow workers to accumulate what they called “property rights,” that is, the
longer a person ’ s tenure on a given job or with a given employer is, the more
rights they should have in times of layoffs or other changes that might affect their
employment. The institutionalists believed that such a policy would be equitable.
Moreover, they argued that if the workplace is to refl ect the democratic values
of the broader society, employees should have a chance to infl uence management
decisions that affect employment conditions.
The Potential Consequences of Further Declines in Union Membership
One might also wonder what will happen if union representation continues
to shrink. If union decline continues, management ’ s abuse of its power might
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420 Part V. Special Topics
BOX 16.3
Employment Law and Labor Relations Issues at Walmart
Starting in 2002, a large number of class actions were brought against
Walmart for violating state-level wage and hour provisions by failing to pay
for overtime work or for work done during required meal or rest breaks.
In an early case, a California jury forced Walmart to write a check for $172
million, to be split by 116,000 Walmart Inc. employees who were forced
to work through their allotted 30-minute unpaid meal breaks. The world ’ s
largest retailer owes these individuals $57 million in wages for missed meal
periods, in addition to $115 million in punitive damages. After review of
Walmart Inc. ’ s documentation, it was ruled that corporate leaders have been
aware of the situation since 1998 and have taken steps to conceal the issue.
That case was followed by convictions for similar violations in Massachusetts,
Minnesota, and other states and led to a series of multi-state settlements
that cost the company nearly $1 billion. Walmart has since invested in new
technology to alert cashiers when it is time for their meal breaks and to
automatically shut down registers if employees do not leave on break after
a certain period of time.
Walmart also encountered legal diffi culties concerning the hiring and
working conditions of undocumented workers at its facilities. A raid of
twenty-one Walmart stores in 2003 resulted in the arrest of 250 undocumented
immigrant workers by the Department of Homeland Security ’ s Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Walmart may face both civil and
criminal penalties for their failure to abide by U.S. immigration law.
Walmart has also been targeted by Walmart Watch, a union and community
coalition, in a campaign to increase wages and has experienced one-day
walkouts on Black Friday, the big shopping day following the Thanksgiving
Despite these numerous employment law disputes and collective protests,
Walmart has remained nonunion throughout the United States. It has,
however, increased wages in annual increments in 2015 and 2016 in an
effort to respond to these pressures and to adjust to tighter labor markets.
Although no Walmart employees in the United States are organized, this
is not the case in Walmart stores in other parts of the world. Many employees
in South American and British Walmart sites are unionized, and every
Walmart Supercenter in Germany is organized. In addition, the Quebec
Labour Relations Board certifi ed the United Food and Commercial Workers
of Canada to represent a Walmart Canada site on August 2, 2004.
Walmart locations in China have become unionized. Prior to 2004,
Walmart China had issued statements asserting the futility of unions in its
stores because of the openness of direct channels between management and
workers. However, in late 2004, Walmart China granted employees the
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 421
right to unionize, and, facing threats from the government-backed All-China
Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), on August 9, 2006, Walmart
announced that labor unions in all sixty of its stores in China would be
permitted without backlash to employees. Chinese unions differ signifi cantly
from those in the United States, as they traditionally work closely with
management and rarely press for higher wages. Since offi cially allowing
unions, Walmart China has openly cooperated with the ACFTU by attempting
to jointly set up unions in each of its stores. In 2016, however, independent
worker groups engaged in strikes at Walmart stores in China, seeking both
better working conditions and a more independent union voice.
Sources: “Association for Walmart Emplo yees Provides Information, Services Clearinghouse,” Daily Labor Report, November 6, 2005; “Jury Rules Walmart Must Pay $172
Million over Meal Breaks,” New York Times, December 23, 2005; “Maryland OKs
Walmart Health Care Bill,” CNNMoney, January 13, 2006; “Missouri Court Certifi es
Large Class in Case Claiming Walmart Forced Off-the-Clock Work,” Daily Labor Report,
November 3, 2005; “Offi cial Union Set Up in China at Walmart,” New York Times,
July 31, 2006.
eventually produce an even more adversarial form of collective bargaining and
costly confl ict.
We may now be witnessing some of the longer-term economic and social
effects of union decline. Concerns over stagnant or declining real wages, increased
wage inequality, and the stresses that long hours of work have infl icted on workers
and their families are gaining national attention. Is union weakness part of the
explanation for these trends? Recent studies have estimated that as much as 20
to 30 percent of the rise in income inequality since the 1980s can be attributed
to the decline in unions and in the bargaining power of workers. 9
Most of the debates over the consequences of union decline focus on economic
issues. But unions are also an important institution in a democratic society. The
absence of a strong voice for workers in community or national affairs leaves a
void that diminishes the quality of political discourse and narrows the range of
options that are seriously considered in debates on critical economic and social
policy issues.
Costs to Workers of Adjusting to Economic Changes
Any future labor policy will have to address the fact that union membership
is heavily concentrated in the oldest industries and among the workers who are
most exposed to international competition. Those industries (e.g., steel, rubber,
mining) will undoubtedly continue to reduce employment levels and move large
numbers of workers across jobs and occupations. Employment adjustments will
occur in these industries as a consequence of new labor-saving technology, the
development of new products, the adoption of new business strategies, and the
movement of jobs to lower-cost countries.
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422 Part V. Special Topics
Many of the jobs being eliminated in older industries are high-wage jobs held
by union members. Older workers displaced from these jobs are not well trained
to fi ll any of the new high-skilled jobs being created. Older workers who have
to accept low-wage jobs must endure a painful transition. Market forces alone
may not fully smooth these adjustment processes. 10
What Will the Comparative Advantage of the United States Be in World
Trade: Low Wages or High Skills?
The events that followed deregulation of the airline and telecommunications
industries suggest that deregulation may greatly reduce workers’ power to fi ght
management ’ s efforts to minimize labor costs and oppose unionization. Workers
in deregulated industries have experienced widespread pay cuts and have had to
make concessions in work rules and reduced employment security. Companies
in these industries have had diffi culties sustaining innovations in labor-management
relationships. Once product market competition increased after deregulation,
management often found it easier to cut labor costs by creating new lower-cost
nonunion organizations or by outsourcing work than to compete through managerial
reforms and labor-management innovations.
If the government were to promote further deregulation, the minimization of
labor costs might spread as a business strategy. However, in the long run, minimizing
labor costs may be self-defeating because U.S. fi rms that compete on the basis of
labor costs may not fare well in world trade. The problem is that workers in
transitioning countries receive very low wages and U.S. fi rms may be unable (or
unwilling) to keep wages low enough to compete through low costs with fi rms
in transitioning countries.
U.S. fi rms might be more successful if they pursued the comparative advantages
that can derived from high technology, commitment skilled and loyal work force,
and product innovativeness. Few dispute the proposition that the comparative
advantage of the U.S. economy lies in its high-technology, high-quality products
and its ability to adapt rapidly. This type of economy requires skilled employees
who are strongly committed to their employers. Although reducing labor costs
may help save some jobs in the short term, in the long term, both the U.S.
economy and the interests of workers might be better served if employers were
to invest in the quality of their human resources. However, it does not appear
that market forces alone will be enough to push employers to pursue a high-skills
human resource strategy.
All the reasons discussed in this section suggest that it is necessary to supplement
the market with labor policies. But what should the policies be? There is much
debate about this issue. Below we outline two alternative strategies.
Strategy 2: Modest Reforms in the Current Collective
Bargaining System
A second alternative for future labor policy is to actively support the types of
modest reforms of traditional collective bargaining and labor law that the Dunlop
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 423
Commission recommended. This would require, among other things, minor
reforms of the NLRA and the NLRB. Such reforms would make it more diffi cult
for employers to oppose union-organizing efforts and make it easier for unions
to achieve fi rst contracts after they win a representation election. Restrictions on
employee participation in nonunion settings might be relaxed. Alternative dispute
resolution procedures might be encouraged to help reduce the backlogs in adjudication when employment laws are violated and to provide access to speedy and
equitable enforcement of these laws. The Employee Free Choice bill used this
approach in 2009. It would have increased penalties to employers for violating
workers’ rights during organizing campaigns, provided for union recognition if
a majority of workers in a bargaining unit signed union authorization cards, and
provided for arbitration of fi rst contracts if a voluntary agreement could not be
reached. There also have been discussions in Congress from time to time about
packaging this bill with Republican-backed bills that would loosen constraints
on various forms of employee participation for nonunion employees. Neither of
these approaches, however, have gained enough support to get through Congress
or overcome a threatened veto by a president.
There is no reason to believe that this policy approach would be any more
acceptable or successful today or in the future than it has been in the past. In
addition, it may not be fl exible enough to address the full range of employment
settings in today ’ s economy. It may therefore be time to propose a broader
and more comprehensive approach to labor and employment policy, one that
opens new avenues for employee representation and participation in decision
Strategy 3: A New Labor Relations System
We believe it is time to open labor law and related employment policies to a
period of active experimentation and learning that over time would both support
a high productivity, high wage economic strategy for the country and extend
labor law protections to workers who are currently excluded from federal labor
policies. Innovations in labor relations along these lines could produce valuable
improvements in productivity and living standards while also providing equitable
due process. However, the new features we propose below are not substitutes
for improving basic labor laws to provide easier access to union representation
for those who want it.
The broad set of policy changes we propose would support and extend the
innovations in employee participation in workplace committees and labormanagement partnerships that companies and unions have introduced in recent
years. Another goal is to open the law to support further experimentation with
the various forms of voice that are emerging among those who work outside
standard employment relationships such as independent contractors.
Within companies this new type of labor relations would encourage and support
the features listed in Box 16.4 . At the workplace level, it would encourage
employee participation in workplace decisions, fl exibility in the organization of
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424 Part V. Special Topics
work, and extensive informal communication between labor and management.
The goal would be to avoid the low trust–high confl ict cycle often found in
traditional collective bargaining relationships. Another major goal of the new
system would be to increase fl exibility at the workplace by moving away from
detailed work rules and narrow job descriptions and facilitating employee input
into decisions and due process.
The functional level of the new labor relations system would encourage profi tsharing or productivity gains-sharing and employee stock ownership arrangements.
The parties must be careful, however, not to let the move to these “contingent”
compensation procedures erode workers’ standards of living. The goal here would
be to make wages responsive to current economic conditions and to give employees
an economic stake in their enterprise. Employee training and career development
BOX 16.4
Core Components of a New Labor Relations System
Strategic Level
Workers and unions should have access to more information about the state
of the business and management ’ s plans for the future
Workers and union representatives should participate in the development of
management strategies and business plans
Labor and human resource executives should be better informed about and
consulted in actions of other groups (e.g., technology and product development,
fi nance, and operation and other management specialists)
Functional Level
Part of compensation should be contingent on group or organizational
Greater priority should be given to promoting employment security.
Training and development opportunities should be available to all workers
Workplace Level
Employees should have the opportunity to participate in workplace improvement
groups or committees
Rigid work rules should be replaced with more fl exible work systems
Grievance procedures should be supplemented with more options for resolving
problems through better communication, problem solving, and other means
of ensuring due process
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 425
also would be encouraged. Strengthening employment security programs and
income security programs could contribute toward this end.
At the strategic level of the new system there would be a break with the
principle that it is management ’ s job to manage the enterprise and the union ’ s
job to negotiate over the effects of management actions. Instead, the new system
would encourage information sharing and consultation between management and
worker representatives. No single form of worker involvement at the strategic
level is anticipated, in keeping with the variety of mechanisms already being
developed by labor and management. However, the policy would promote use
of consultative bodies made up of union and nonunion employees and employee
representation on boards of directors.
Legal constraints on the ability of employees, supervisors, and middle managers
to participate in decision making should be removed, regardless of whether a
union is present or not. As long as employees have the freedom to decide whether
to be represented by a union, employee participation should be deregulated and
allowed to take whatever form best suits the problems and circumstances of the
parties involved. The current law that denies supervisors bargaining rights is
outmoded, for example. So too are efforts to draw a clear line of demarcation
between managers who are exempt from eligibility for overtime and employees
who are paid for the overtime hours they work. These restrictions confl ict with
the contemporary decentralization of managerial decision making. Without reform
of labor and employment laws, fi rst-line supervisors and middle managers are in
an untenable predicament. On the one hand, changes in technology and in personnel
policies of many organizations have reduced the power and status of supervisors
and given rank-and-fi le employees more infl uence. On the other hand, supervisors
are not protected by labor law if they engage in collective efforts to improve
their employment conditions.
Given their precarious position, it is not surprising that supervisors so often
fi nd ways to block workplace innovations. This resistance to change is likely to
continue unless supervisors are involved more meaningfully in processes to change
and improve companies.
Likewise, constraints on the mandatory and permissible scope of bargaining
no longer make sense. Strategic business decisions have serious consequences for
employment and for the income security of workers. Effective employee representation, therefore, requires employee participation in strategic business decisions at
an early stage of the process.
These reforms would do more than just improve labor relations. Elected employee
representatives would bring another independent voice to corporate governance
and a new transparency to human resource practices and policy formation. This
would have positive effects on issues ranging from executive compensation to
organizational design.
In the new system, the exclusivity unions have as worker representatives would
be modifi ed. Employee-management councils, similar to works councils in Europe
that provide representation to a cross-section of blue- and white-collar workers,
would be allowed. The parties would be encouraged to create consultative
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426 Part V. Special Topics
procedures involving employees from a variety of occupations. These procedures
could supplement formal negotiations for employee groups that choose to be
represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining.
In addition, unions, professional associations, and other organizations would
be encouraged to develop a broad range of labor market services for individuals
not covered by formal collective bargaining and those who work as independent
contractors. Information about a variety of topics, including the labor market,
training and education, pensions, health insurance, supplemental unemployment
insurance, and legal representation and advice about occupational safety and health
could be provided by full service unions or by alternative forms of collective
representation. The objective here would be to create the incentives and opportunities for a variety of new labor market organizations and institutions to meet the
changing needs of workers and their evolving employment relationships. These
labor market institutions would lower the cost of mobility to workers who have
to fi nd new jobs in the wake of corporate failures, restructuring, or layoffs. By
building this type of institutional infrastructure, labor market policies could then
move in the long run to delink benefi ts from individual companies by making
pensions, health insurance, and other leave benefi ts portable.
These broader reforms are necessary to catch up with changes in how work
is done, particularly types of work arrangements that the National Labor Relations
Act did not anticipate. That law was passed to regulate an employment relationship
in which employees were managed by a single and easily identifi able employer.
Today, a signifi cant and growing number of work settings do not fi t this model.
A recent survey suggested, for example, that approximately 15 percent of the
work force is employed in some form of contract, franchise, or independent
contractor work arrangement. 11 Most of those employed in these settings are
currently either excluded from coverage under the NLRA or have diffi culty
determining exactly who their employer is if they wish to form a union and
negotiate a contract. Any future efforts to update labor law will need to fi nd
ways to extend access to some form of voice and representation to these workers.
This new system would build on the work practices being used in various
union and nonunion settings. It incorporates reform ideas that have been advocated
in recent years.
Beyond Labor Law: The Need to Integrate Labor,
Economic, and Social Policies
Implementing and diffusing a new labor relations system will require the active
support of federal and state policy makers and signifi cant shifts in the strategies
of management and labor. Below we outline the steps the government, labor,
and management could take to better integrate labor policy with other employment
policies and with a high productivity, high wage economic strategy.
Changes in Government Policies
The diffusion of the new labor relations system should be accompanied by
changes in federal economic and social policies. An extensive employment and
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 427
training policy, for example, is needed to assist workers who are transitioning
across employers or occupations. The unemployment compensation system should
be altered to cover a higher percentage of the unemployed and encourage
unemployed workers to acquire new skills. Given the decline in defi ned benefi t
pensions that has taken place since the 1990s, increases in social security retirement
benefi ts or some other retirement savings program are needed. Other employment
regulations such as noncompete agreements that some states enforce (and others
prohibit) should be modifi ed to reduce the costs to workers when they change
jobs. Distinctions in the employment rights of employees, independent contractors,
and consultants need to be reexamined to see if they still make sense. Anyone
who works should be entitled to the basic protections provided by labor and
employment laws, regardless of whether they are labeled employees, independent
contractors, or temporary workers.
Macroeconomic policies should promote economic expansion and growth
in productivity. One way to do so would be to increase investment in
repairing the nation ’ s aging infrastructure, an action that business, labor, and
a wide range of economists and engineers all see as much needed and long
overdue. Support for basic education and research should be increased in the
United States in light of the support given to such activities by our economic
Given the increased interdependence between work and family life that comes
with the rise in labor force participation of women and the fact that parents
receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children must now work as a condition
of receiving fi nancial assistance, issues of family and medical leave take on increased
importance. The United States is the only advanced industrial economy and the
only democracy that does not offer some form of paid leave for workers who
need to attend to family needs. There is much debate over the future of the
Family and Medical Leave Act. Employers fi nd it too infl exible, too cumbersome
to administer, and too diffi cult to integrate with leave policies of individual
employers. Family advocates criticize the act for covering only about 55 percent
of the labor force (companies with 50 or fewer employees are excluded) and for
providing only unpaid leave.
One option for addressing both of these concerns is to establish minimum and
fl exible standards for paid leave that apply to more employees and are linked to
existing leave policies offered by employers. Many companies do this already,
especially in unionized settings where the parties have negotiated leave policies
suited specifi cally to the needs of their particular work force and business settings.
As discussed in previous chapters, a number of unions and companies have established
jointly funded and jointly managed programs to support child care, elder care,
and related family services. These are all ways to address the changing demographic
profi le and the increased interdependence of work and family that characterizes
today ’ s labor markets. Given these labor force changes, these issues will likely be
front and center in any future debates over how to modernize American labor
and employment law to catch up with the changing work force and the changing
nature of work.
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428 Part V. Special Topics
State and Local Government Policies
The sustained impasse in labor policy at the national level has led to increased
calls for action at the local and state government level. This is consistent with
the history of innovation in social and labor policy in the United States. Most
of what was introduced into federal law in the 1930s, such as unemployment
insurance, workers’ compensation, wage and hour protections, and even some
aspects of collective bargaining law, were developed earlier and tested in states
such as Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts.
Today we see a similar trend. The enactment of “living wage” ordinances in
over fi fty communities is one example. California enacted the fi rst paid family
leave act in 2004, followed by Massachusetts and New Jersey. Similar bills are
being debated in many other states. Public sector labor relations statutes are
another example of the important role state governments play in shaping labor
relations for many workers across the country. Given the ongoing national stalemate
over labor policy, we are likely to see an increase in efforts to enact changes at
the state and local levels. These initiatives should serve as laboratories for experimentation and learning that can inform national policy debates at some point in
the future.
Government policy alone, however, cannot spark changes in labor relations.
The diffusion of a new industrial relations system requires the active support
of management and labor.
Management Values and Strategies
U.S. managers will infl uence the diffusion of reforms in labor relations through
their values and their business strategies. In a new labor relations system, management will have to accept a broad role for unions and workers in strategic decision
making, yet opposition to unions is a deep-seated value of many U.S. managers.
This is a signifi cant barrier to the diffusion of a new system of labor relations.
The Role of Business Strategies
Not all business strategies are equally compatible with the labor relations reforms
proposed above. Business competition based on low labor costs undermines the
fl exibility and adaptability of a company and the degree to which its workers
trust management. However, because unions fi nd it diffi cult to take wages out
of competition, many fi rms are tempted to pursue a low-wage business strategy.
The distrust that develops in fi rms that pursue low-wage strategies makes participatory practices impossible.
Business strategies that move work to different locations in response to variations in labor costs also are incompatible with a new system of labor relations. A
low-cost production strategy can divert management ’ s attention away from the
need to develop other aspects of their business that would give them a competitive
edge. Firms that focus on low-cost strategies tend to give too little attention to
developing advantages based on technology, labor skills, and product innovation.
Other business strategies that limit worker trust also need to be avoided if
industrial relations innovations are to take hold. When employers buy and sell
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 429
productive assets as short-run ways of raising capital without attending to the
consequences of those actions for their work force, workers become less willing
to trust that employer. Thus, corporate takeovers that meet only short-term
corporate objectives have dysfunctional consequences for labor relations. The
ability of employers to make such fi nancial maneuvers should be limited by public
policy; alternatively, employers who engage in such behavior should be required
to provide compensation to the work force.
Technological Strategies
Technological strategies designed to give management maximum control and
reduce the amount they pay workers lead to deskilled and unmotivated workers.
Such strategies limit the opportunity for companies to learn from their employees
about ways to improve operations.
A socio-technical approach to new technology is more consistent with the
new labor relations practices we envision. Socio-technical policies use technology
to decentralize decision making in companies and upgrade worker skills. Broadening
job tasks and blurring traditional distinctions between white- and blue-collar
work opens opportunities for workers to learn and apply new skills. The need
to adopt technological innovations will intensify in the future as advances in
artifi cial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics affect more jobs and a larger
proportion of the work force. Greater worker input in the development and use
of these technologies will help ensure that the work force obtains the skills needed
to adapt to the way tasks will be changed, to share in the gains in productivity
achieved, and to help those who are displaced by technological change to move
to the new jobs that will be created.
Is it likely that a majority of U.S. managers will quickly adopt values and
strategies that support the diffusion of a new labor relations system? If history is
any guide, the answer is clearly no. Most managers are likely to prefer to stay
with long-established practices or to adopt change incrementally. Yet with the
increase in international and domestic competition, rapid changes in technology,
and the interest many workers have in contributing to solutions to big problems
in society, the need is growing for extensive changes in industrial relations.
Economic pressures and pressures from governments and unions may eventually
induce management to make major changes.
Broader Corporate Reforms
Confi dence in American corporations and their top executives fell to historic
low points in the wake of the scandals in the 1990s at companies such as Enron
and WorldCom, and it has stayed at those low levels ever since. Restoring
confi dence in the business community has to be a high priority for the nation
and its economy. This may well require giving employees more opportunities to
monitor and contribute to corporate governance and managerial strategies and
behaviors. This change will become even more critical if human capital and
knowledge become increasingly important sources of competitive advantage in
modern corporations, as many believe is already happening.
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430 Part V. Special Topics
If employers are to gain value from the knowledge of their employees, they
will need to rebuild their employees’ trust. In turn, employees will need to
understand the risks they are taking when they join or stay with a particular fi rm.
Thus, the nature of employee participation and voice that will emerge out of
this historic set of developments could have a profound effect on the future of
labor relations.
Will the current debates over corporate reform lead to laws that give employees
new rights related to participation and voice? This was the case in the 1930s,
when the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which protects
those who invest in corporations, was followed by enactment of the NLRA,
which protects workers. Whether history will repeat itself cannot be known at
this time. If it does, we may witness more profound changes in American labor
relations policy and practice than would be predicted by the past two decades of
policy stalemate.
Union Strategies
Labor leaders face a similar choice about whether to support the diffusion of
a new system of labor relations. At present, the leaders of the U.S. labor movement
generally support worker participation and union-management partnerships but
they have not developed an explicit strategy for promoting these initiatives. The
reluctance of union leaders to strongly support participation in managerial decision
making stems, in part, from leaders’ fears that they will be co-opted. Union
leaders worry that increased participation will lead them to support management ’ s
goals at the expense of promoting the interests of their members.
Union leaders will have to reassess their views and become more visible champions
of the new labor relations practices we are proposing if they are to spread
across the economy. Without the strong support of the labor movement, it will
be diffi cult for management to take the risks associated with introducing new
practices. Visible support from union leaders is also necessary to convince public
policy offi cials, rank-and-fi le workers, and the public that a new labor relations
system is possible. Union leaders’ passive acceptance of new practices is unlikely
to suffi ce.
If they do become more heavily involved in strategic business issues, union
leaders will have to become more profi cient at communicating with their members
about their participation. Otherwise, members will remain suspicious of union
leaders’ new roles. In addition, union leaders will have to match their increased
participation in business decisions with an increase in member participation in
internal union affairs.
Why should labor leaders embrace a new labor relations system and adopt the
new roles it requires of them? The answer to this question is quite simple: Union
leaders have to do so if they are to represent the interests of their current members
effectively and organize new members. Failure to do so will likely lead to further
decline in union membership or at best perhaps a leveling off of members. If the
labor movement continues to use its current strategies, union membership will
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The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 431
continue to decline and it will fi nd itself relegated to marginal rather than a central
role in economic and social affairs.
The scope of labor relations activity has broadened in recent years to involve
more activities above and below the level of traditional collective bargaining.
Strategic decisions made at the top of corporations and interactions at the workplace
are now as important as the negotiations process. Union leaders, therefore, must
acquire the ability to infl uence decisions made at the strategic and workplace levels
as well as in collective bargaining negotiations. If they do not, their infl uence
over the future of labor relations will continue to decline. But most important,
unions, professional associations, and other organizations need to fi nd ways of
recruiting and representing the full range of participants in the modern labor
force. These new approaches should not require participants to risk their jobs,
engage in highly adversarial confl icts with employers, or depend on garnering a majority of their peers in a specifi c bargaining unit in order to gain the
services, opportunities, and representation they need to succeed in today ’ s labor
To support labor mobility, unions will need to develop new capabilities and
new structures. These are needed to satisfy workers’ needs for lifelong learning
and retraining, information about job opportunities, and continuous benefi t
coverage. Meeting these needs will require unions to recruit members and maintain
their membership over the full course of their careers and modify union structures
to allow workers to move across unions over their careers. In addition, craft and
professional union models that support worker mobility may become increasingly
important in the future since they are not tied to a specifi c workplace and may
not be as dependent on exclusive representation and formal collective bargaining
rights as industrial unions are. One might envision unions of the future as networks
that provide a range of services and benefi ts.
This book began by presenting a normative perspective on work and employment relations and a broad framework for analyzing industrial relations. The text
then explored how the strategic choices of the parties interact with environmental
conditions to shape labor relations. It seems appropriate, therefore, that this fi nal
chapter poses the strategic choices now faced by labor, management, and governmental decision makers regarding the future of labor relations.
The fi eld of labor (and industrial) relations has a heritage of close connections
between research, teaching, public policy, and private practice. The fostering of
this tradition would help the parties address the challenges they now face.
Discussion Questions
1. What are some of the key components of the current U.S. national labor
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432 Part V. Special Topics
2. Briefl y outline the deregulation-market approach to national labor policy.
Discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.
3. Describe the key features of the new labor policy advocated by the authors.
4. How could the government encourage the diffusion of the new labor relations
system we recommend if it chooses to do so?
5. What do you think are the most important issues that need to be dealt with
through future labor policies?
Related Web Sites
Dunlop Commission:
Commission on Future of Worker Management:
U.S. Department of Labor:
Suggested Readings
Heckscher , Charles C. The New Unionism. Ithaca, N.Y. : ILR Press , 1996 .
Kochan , Thomas A. Restoring the American Dream: A Working Families Agenda for America .
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press , 2005 .
Kochan , Thomas A. , Harry C.Katz , and Robert B.McKersie . The Transformation of American
Industrial Relations. Ithaca, N.Y. : ILR Press , 1994 .
Osterman , Paul , Thomas A.Kochan , Richard M.Locke , and Michael J.Piore . Working in
America: A Blueprint for the New Labor Market. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press , 2001 .
1. For a good review of the various study groups that helped shape the National Labor Relations
Act, see Christopher Tomlins, “The New Deal, Collective Bargaining and the Triumph of Industrial
Pluralism,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 39, no. 1 (1985): 19–34.
2. Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, “The Emergence of Community Labor–Management Cooperatives,”
in Industrial Democracy: Strategies for Community Revitalization, ed. Warner Woodworth, Christopher
Meek, and William Foote Whyte (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1985), 99–120.
3. John Thomas Dunlop, Fact Finding Report, Commission on the Future of Worker Management
Relations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor, 1994), xi.
4. Ibid.; U.S. Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations, Report and Recommendations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, 1994).
5. For a discussion of the diffi culties involved in getting national leaders to consider labor and
employment policy issues, see Robert B. Reich, Locked in the Cabinet (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1997).
6. John T. Dunlop, “The Limits of Legal Compulsion,” Labor Law Journal 27 (February 1976):
7. Data on changes in the funding and administration of labor policies during the Reagan
administration years are found in Sar A. Levitan, Peter E. Carlson, and Isaac Shapiro, Protecting
EBSCOhost – printed on 10/7/2021 10:29 PM via UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND GLOBAL CAMPUS. All use subject to https://www.ebsco.com/terms-of-use
The Future of U.S. Labor Policy and Labor Relations 433
American Workers: An Assessment of Government Programs (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National
Affairs, 1986).
8. For a discussion of the decline of the steel industry, see Robert W. Crandall, The U.S. Steel
Industry in Recurrent Crisis (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1981). For a historical analysis
of labor relations in the steel industry through the mid-1980s, see John Hoerr, And the Wolf Finally
Came (New York: Praeger, 1987).
9. Bruce Western and Jake Rosenfeld, “Unions, Norms, and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,”
American Sociological Review 76, no. 4 (2011): 513–537.
10. Paul Osterman, Employment Futures (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
11. Alan Krueger and Lawrence Katz, “The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements
in the United States, 1995–2015,” Princeton University and NBER working paper, March 29,
EBSCOhost – printed on 10/7/2021 10:29 PM via UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND GLOBAL CAMPUS. All use subject to https://www.ebsco.com/terms-of-use
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