The collective bargaining system, gradual change may be expected to continue in at least four areas: the subjects of bargaining; the structure of bargaining; the legal framework of bargaining; and the role of government in the bargaining process. It appears to me unlikely that the preoccupation with job design and work reorganization, attributed to the interests of a younger and better educated work force, will produce major changes in the organization and management of the workplace. Changes relating to flexibility in hours in some industries, greater choice for workers among fringe benefits, and employee participation in the arrangements for work are not, in my view, likely to be extensive. This is because most employees do not appear to be significantly interested, and the number of managements with special interests in these areas is limited.
An area where continuing evolution may be expected relates to the structure of bargaining, that is: the level at which different issues should be resolved; the range of jobs, territory, and employees to be governed by the agreement; and the relations among the different craft unions bargaining with a common employer. Many long and expensive strikes have grown out of disagreements not primarily related to compensation but to the structure of bargaining.
May 24th, 2015
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