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BUSA+Labor+laws - Labor Law LABOR LAW Should strikes after...

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Labor Law LABOR LAW Should strikes after be stopped? I. Overview Organized labor has suffered from a long and steady decline in membership, power, and influence over the past forty years. Much of this slide has been of its own doing, traceable to poor union management, a fat cat image, and sometimes-silly work rules that have no economic justification in the face of changed technology. In spite of all this bad news for unions, consider the working conditions that existed before them. It is a hallmark of advanced industrialized economies that the work force is highly organized and has a strong bargaining power over its affairs. The immediate post-Civil War era of industrialization saw the possibilities for abuse of the work force not only become reality, but also a tragedy, when it came to workers' safety. Most modern social legislation, ranging from the minimum wage, to child labor laws, to workplace and antidiscrimination statutes are traceable not to the largess of employers but rather to hard fought collective bargaining agreements. It is no accident that union representation is low in areas of the world still noted for the exploitation of their labor force. Corollaries of low wages are low levels of worker protection, environmental callousness, and an overall diminished standard of living. The basic employer/employee relationship is a contractual one. As with any contract, both parties are expected to enter into the relationship with their own best interests at heart. The quaint notion of a paternalistic employer who cares for his workers over and above his own interests is simply unrealistic in today's age of cutthroat economic competition. What is realistic is enlightened self-interest. Each side of the labor management relationship still looks out for itself. But in looking out for number one, both must realize their mutual interdependence on each other. Labor must realize that it cannot sustain its own survival on the backs of failed companies brought down by union imposed inefficiencies. Labor must adjust to "Real World 101" and make concessions to both the technological and economic realities of trying to compete in a global economy. Management, in turn, cannot forever continue to erode our economic consumer base at home by running overseas at every opportunity for lower wages and less restrictive hospitalities for doing business. What will happen in the long run if we allow our home economy to become depleted of workers who earn real living wages? We cannot let our economy degenerate into one of only two classes: the very rich and minimum wage service workers. Our industrial base was built on a working partnership between management and labor. Like any marriage this partnership was not always easy to live with. But it did thrive on a mutual respect for the other's role in the larger scheme of things. What we have had instead for the past forty years is a willingness on the part of both sides to forgo the long-term societal benefits that can inure from good faith bargaining. The end result is that our economy is in danger of not only
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course BUSA 2106 taught by Professor Lee during the Summer '07 term at UGA.

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BUSA+Labor+laws - Labor Law LABOR LAW Should strikes after...

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