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  Employee Participation and Works Councils
 
Biagi, Marco, "Toward A New European Corportism?- The Role of Social Partners in Europe: From Dialogue to Partnership", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 20 no3 (1999) p. 485-496

Abstract:
The author argues that labor and management must act as “social partners,” play a strong role in setting the direction of policy, and enhance their “representativeness.” Social partnership is especially important in the legislative process, because legislation agreed upon by the social partners could overcome a paralyzing set of alternatives in standard intergovernmental negotiations and therefore assist the reaching of compromises among member states. Labor and management federations have already played new roles in job creation in the 1998 Luxembourg summit. The author advocates a multi-level (national, European, and company) system of industrial relations with “mandatory topics” of collective agreements, including updating agreements to take into account new forms of work organization; reconciling work and family life; modernizing the legislative framework of employment regulation; and setting up the framework of participation and employee involvement itself. He argues that these proposals would promote social inclusion and economic competitiveness in Europe.

Subjects: Employee Participation and Works Councils, European Union
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 9
 
Davies, Paul, "Workers on the Board of the European Company?", Industrial Law Journal v. 32 no2 (2003) p. 75-96

Abstract:
This article provides a detailed overview of a core issue raised by the new European Company statute: employee participation in in the new kind of firm, the societas europaea (SE), that the statute creates. Although the statute provides that within SEs, workers have a complex set of rights to participate at the corporate board level, the author argues that the statute may have little effect. This is because: (1) employee representation at the board level is not a requirement at all SEs; (2) firms may lack incentive to form SEs (other mechanisms exist in national law for cross-border mergers); and (3) much of the behavior of SEs is still regulated by company laws of member states. The author provides an overview of the mandated employee involvement procedures for establishing an SE. The author then describes how the rules that specify when employee participation is mandatory and what the minimum acceptable level of participation is the product of a compromise between those countries that wanted to prevent “escape” from participation (Germany) and those that who wanted to prevent “export” of participation (Spain). The remainder of the article provides a detailed set of hypothetical scenarios to demonstrate how the tension between the “no export” and “no escape” position play out differently in different varieties of SEs. It concludes that the negotiations to establish an SE are likely to be complex, that the rules are generally tilted towards “exporting” participation. However, the author contends that the rules are considerably watered down and fragmented compared to the early expectations of the European commission in the 1970s to set up a single mandatory system of worker participation rules at large firms.

Subjects: Corporate Accountability, Employee Participation and Works Councils, European Union
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 9
 
Deery, Stephen & Doellgast, Virginia & Holtgrewe, Ursula, "The Effects of National Institutions and Collective Bargaining Arrangements on Job Quality in Front-Line Service Workplaces", Industrial and Labor Relations Review v. 62 no4 (July 2009) p. 489-509

Abstract:
This article surveys and interprets working conditions in the call centers of five different coordinated market economies (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden) (CMEs) and three liberal market economies (Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom) (LMEs). The authors' 1,734 surveys focus on three primary issues: 1) whether job quality varies systematically between coordinated and liberal economies; 2) to what extent collective bargaining institutions affect call center job quality; and 3) whether these institutional effects differ between in-house and outsourced call centers. Meanwhile, the authors limit their measure of job quality to three workplace phenomena: rate of dismissal, use of high-involvement work practices, and level of performance monitoring. Over all, the authors found that CME call centers have better working conditions than those in LME countries. However, there are cross-country anomalies that may be explained by national labor models. Further, worker organization helps to improve working conditions generally, with joint works council-union representation providing the best conditions. Finally, likely driven in part by the demands of contracting firms, outsourced call centers were found to have worse working conditions than in-house centers.

Subjects: Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Comparative Labor Law, Employee Participation and Works Councils
Newsletter: Vol 10, Issue 7
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Estreicher, Samuel, "'Think Global, Act Local': Employee Representation in a World of Global Labor and Product Market Competition", Labor Lawyer v. 24 no3 (Winter 2009) p. 235-265

Abstract:
Trade unionism among private sector workers around the world is in decline. The author begins by describing four general explanations that theorists put forth for this decline, including the “Global Product and Labor Market Competition” explanation. Next, he describes two models of workplace representation “the Redistributive Bargaining Agent” model and the “Integrative Bargaining Agent”ť model and explains how these models interact to create distinct brands of unionism in different parts of the industrialized world. The author then describes how the global market and international competition have made it harder for workers to unionize and more difficult for nations to enact meaningful labor standards. Finally, the author posits that the best solution to this global labor crisis is for unions in each country to develop innovative policy solutions that give a voice to workers without harming employers’ economic performance.

Subjects: Comparative Labor Law, Employee Participation and Works Councils, Outsourcing, Trade Agreements
Newsletter: Vol 9, Issue 9
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Godard, John, "Institutional Environments, Work and Human Resources Practices, and Unions: Canada versus England", Industrial and Labor Relations Review v. 62 (January 2009) p. 173-199

Abstract:
In this article, Godard uses statistical models to show that different workplace and human resources (HR) practices may have different repercussions for unions in two countries. Using the results of telephone surveys of hundreds of workers in Canada and England, Godard assesses the impact of a spectrum of workplace practices—from the traditional to “new” and “alternative” ones such as single-status policies or team-based work systems—on four factors: the expectation of reprisal for union organizing, the propensity to vote in favor of a union should a representational election be held, the existing presence of a union, and finally, the willingness to stand behind a union where one is recognized. His analysis yielded results that diverged both on the basis of workplace practice and national “institutional environment.” With regard to the latter, Godard argues that country-specific labor law and policy, and whether labor management relations tend to be adversarial or collaborative, matters. For example, while responses regarding pro-union propensity were strongly negative in a Canadian workplace with traditional HR practices, responses in similar workplaces in England were essentially tied between pro- and anti-union. Godard attributes the disparate results to the fact that unions in Canada have influenced the development of bureaucratic HR practices that tend to "substitute" for union representation, whereas in England unions have not had that effect. In sum, Godard advocates labor scholars more explicitly consider the role of institutional environments in organizing outcomes.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Comparative Labor Law, Employee Participation and Works Councils
Newsletter: Vol 8, Issue 6
Full-text links: || WESTLAW || LEXIS-NEXIS || 
 
Kellerhals, Andreas & Trüten, Dirk, "The Creation of the European Company", Tulane European & Civil Law Forum no17 (2002) p. 83-112

Abstract:
Kellerhals and Truten present an overview of the European Company Law statute, which allows European companies to move their residence throughout member states without dissolution and liquidation. This provision effectuates the “freedom of establishment” guaranteed in article 43 of the EC treaty. It also sets up mechanisms for employee participation in European-wide companies . The author provides an overview of difficulties that have been encountered because some national actors feared that European rules would water down strong national systems of co-determination. The compromise that was reached avoids this controversial issue by relying on national law. The authors conclude with an overview of possible reasons why firms would or would not use the rules in future rounds of restructuring.

Subjects: Employee Participation and Works Councils, European Union
Newsletter: Vol 2, Issue 9