Worker Participation and Social Dialogue at the Work Place Level in the United States
23 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 26, 2008
This paper discusses the right of private sector employees to influence management decisions that may affect their working conditions. It explores the ability of workers represented by labor organizations to deal with their employers through the collective bargaining process, and through contractual grievance-arbitration procedures with respect to issues arising under current agreements. It notes the decline of unions over the past fifty years, with union membership declining from 35% in the late 1950s to under 7% today. In the absence of formal union representation, employees have no formal right to affect management decisions, even though over 85% of surveyed employees have indicated that they would like to have a collective voice at work. Although many firms have established employee participation committees, these are primarily designed to enhance worker productivity and service quality. Most of these institutions are controlled by the employers in a way that makes them technically illegal under Section 8(a)(2) of the NLRA. Few have been established to provide employees with any significant control over their employment terms.
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