Laval, Viking, and American Labor Law

20 Pages Posted: 8 May 2010

See all articles by Steven L. Willborn

Steven L. Willborn

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2010


Laval and Viking are important decisions of the European Court of Justice. Both restrict the ability of unions to take industrial action. The decisions have been highly controversial and widely debated in Europe. This article considers how the decisions would have been decided under American labor law. I find that the United States would have resolved the cases differently and more generously to labor interests. This is a counter-intuitive result given the conventional wisdom about attitudes towards unions and labor regulation in Europe and the United States. The article concludes by arguing that this comparative analysis tells us something about the cross-cutting currents that contribute to the development of labor law. This article is part of a symposium to be published in the Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal that also includes articles by European and Canadian academics.

Keywords: Laval, Viking, Labor Law

Suggested Citation

Willborn, Steven L., Laval, Viking, and American Labor Law (May 4, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Steven L. Willborn (Contact Author)

University of Nebraska at Lincoln - College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States
402-472-1256 (Phone)

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