School of Business
University of Alberta
- ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS -- LOWER COSTS ARE MORE DESIRABLE THAN
INVESTING UN HUMAN RESOURCES (E.G., USE OF PART-TIME WORKERS)
- APPLYING DIFFERENT BUNDLES OF HRM PRACTICES TO DIFFERENT SEGMENTS OF
THE WORKFORCE IN DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS
- LEGAL OBSTACLES [E.G., SECTIONS 2(5) AND 8(A)(2) OF THE U.S.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT*]
- MANAGEMENT, UNION, EMPLOYEE RESISTANCE
- SHAREHOLDER DEMANDS FOR QUICK DIVIDENDS
- IMPLEMENTATION/LACK OF INTERNAL CONSISTENCY (E.G., EMPOWERMENT
TOGETHER WITH REDUCING TRAINING BUDGET)
|The term "labor organization" means any
organization of any kind, or any agency or employee representation
committee or plan, in which employees participate and which exists for the
purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning
grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or
conditions of work.
Section 8(a)(2) -- Unfair labor practices by employer
|It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer to
dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor
organization or contribute financial or other support to it...
In a paper entitled "Nonunion Employee Representation: A Legal/Policy Perspective",
Samuel Estreicher (Professor of Law, New York University School of Law) explains
that, virtually alone among the developed countries, the United States prohibits
employers from forming committees of employees and managers to discuss
in a bilateral fashion matters of mutual interest, including pay and
working conditions. The prohibition found in § 8(a)(2) of the National
Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA or Act), by means of the broad
definition of "labor organization" in § 2(5) of the Act, goes
well beyond conventional rules found in other countries that bar
employer-supported organizations from access to the representation
ballot or government agency certification. The § 8(a)(2) prohibition
was enacted to address abuses that occurred in connection with the spate
of company unions that emerged in reaction to the National Industrial
Recovery Act (1933-1935). However, the NLRA's proponents, notably
Senator Wagner from New York, crafted a provision that was considerably
broader than necessary to address those evils -- ostensibly
in the interest of protecting the preconditions for "employee free
choice," with a subtext also of seeking to entrench the position of
independent, multiemployer unions.
decades the U.S. employer community could live with § 8(a)(2) because
its premises fit well traditional Taylorist workplaces. Changes in
technology and competitive markets, however, have forced a change in the
organization of work that requires committed, "smart" line
workers and calls in question the continued viability of traditional
unilateral management styles contemplated by § 8(a)(2).
decisions, while attempting to clarify the law of employee involvement,
continue to cast a pall of legal uncertainty over many programs,
particularly of the "off-line" variety, where employees
and managers meet in vehicles that are separate from actual work
processes. Although the legal status of "on-line"
processes, such as self-directed work teams, is on a firmer
footing, legal risks attend these systems as well.