Rent to Own Unionism?
Jeffrey M. Hirsch
University of North Carolina School of Law
December 6, 2008
Virginia Law Review In Brief, Vol. 94, 2008
University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1312543
In "Information and the Market for Union Representation," (94 Va. L. Rev. 1 (2008)) Professor Matthew Bodie provides an instructive framework for addressing information deficiencies in union elections. His consumer or "purchase of services" paradigm is apt and well illustrates the shortcomings of the more dominant approaches to elections. The extent to which this paradigm should drive the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) regulation of union elections is less obvious. The best fit with Bodie's consumer paradigm appears to be a system in which employees can easily designate a union as their representative, yet can just as easily get rid of the union. In other words, employees, like many other consumers, could purchase union services with the knowledge that they can easily change their mind later. It is not clear, however, whether the benefits associated with that "Rent To Own" model are worth its costs.
Bodie's consumer paradigm provides a valuable insight into the information deficiencies implicated by union elections. At a minimum, this model should inform the NLRB's regulation of union elections. Yet relying on the model too much could lead to more problems than it is worth. Identifying the most effective middle ground between these concerns is difficult; indeed, such ground may not exist. Despite this uncertainty, Bodie's consumer paradigm serves an important role, as it provides further evidence that the NLRB's current governance of elections is in dire need of reform and establishes itself as a essential factor in any future attempts at reform.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Keywords: union, labor, nlrb,
JEL Classification: J51, K31,Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 8, 2008
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