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  Collective Bargaining
 
Badigannavar,Vidu & Kelly, John, "Do Labour Laws Protect Labour in India? Union Experiences of Workplace Employment Regulations in Maharashtra, India", Industrial Law Journal v. 41 (December 2012) p. 439-470

Abstract:
The authors describe a heated debate in India over labor market regulation. Recent trends in labor market regulation tend toward liberalization; neoliberals, who favor deregulation, claim that pro-worker and pro-union laws confer a disproportionate amount of power on trade unions and worker groups. In many Indian states, policy makers have responded by chipping away at labor protections, particularly laws that make it difficult for employers to downsize or reshape their workforces. The neoliberals claim that over-empowered worker groups and unions have created unnecessary conflicts, hindered workforce flexibility, and caused low productivity. Business lobbies claim that regulation hinders economic development and thereby hurts workers. The authors examine survey data from Maharashtra, a state with pro-worker labor laws, to examine whether these claims are true. The survey data comes from union representatives in both the public and private sector. The authors find that employers in Maharashtra frequently act in contravention of labor law, despite the unions’ supposedly disproportionate power. Further, they find that unions in Maharashtra are not likely to strike or cause a labor conflict, while employers increasingly cause labor stoppages by locking employees out or refusing to negotiate. In addition, judicial interpretation of labor law has favored employers. The authors find that, contrary to the predictions of neoliberals, even in states that have pro-labor regimes union power is limited and decreasing while employers have become more powerful and militant.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, India
Newsletter: Vol 12, Issue 8
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Batt, Rosemary & Nohara, Hiroatsu, "How Institutions and Business Strategies Affect Wages: A Cross-National Study of Call Centers", Industrial and Labor Relations Review v. 62 no4 (July 2009) p. 533-551

Abstract:
This article takes a look at wage dispersion and union wage differentials in call centers, a growing industry which represents a challenge to existing market rules and collective bargaining institutions. The study compares coordinated economies, liberal market economies, and emerging market economies. In general, the authors hypothesize that wage trends will follow the results of prior studies in other industries: that wage dispersion and union wage differentials will be highest in the most liberal economies (like the U.S.) and lowest in the most coordinated economies (like Ireland). This shows itself to be partially true: the U.S. indeed has high levels of wage dispersion and a high union wage differential, but from there the findings were not directly related to the level of market coordination and liberality. In fact, the study shows that business strategies of outsourcing and customer service segmentation also greatly affect wage trends. Further, the authors hypothesize that wage trends in emerging market economies will more closely mirror those in liberal market economies than coordinated economies. According to the authors' findings, this is indeed the case. Finally, the authors conclude with a list of potential limitations to their study methodology, as well as suggestions for areas of future research.

Subjects: Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Comparative Labor Law, Outsourcing
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 5
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Budd, John W., "Fairness at Work, and Maybe Efficiency but not Voice: An Evaluation of the Arthurs’ Commission Report", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 29 no4 (2008) p. 477-489

Abstract:
This article seeks to discern the analytical framework of the Arthurs’ Report, which studies and critiques employment law covering Canadian Federal employees. After explaining several possible frameworks – egoist, unitarist, pluralist and critical – the author concludes that Arthurs falls into the pluralist school of thought. Pluralist policies embrace significant government regulation to equalize bargaining power between employees and employers. The author argues that the Arthurs’ report would be stronger if it explicitly recognized its analytical approach so that policy makers might move beyond specific proposals and more easily debate the underlying assumptions. The author then suggests that the Arthurs’ Report would benefit from emphasizing not only efficiency and equity in the workplace, but also employee voice. This article concludes by applauding the overall effort of the Arthurs’ Report, despite current obstacles to its implementation.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 8, Issue 7
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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
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Eklund, Ronnie, "A Swedish Perspective on Laval", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 29 no4 (2008) p. 551-571

Abstract:
This article begins by contextualizing and summarizing the 2007 European Court of Justice decision in Laval, in which the Court curbed the reach of Swedish labor law with respect to companies from other European Union nations that operate in Sweden. The court upheld minimum national standards, but enjoined trade union actions designed to bring a foreign company in line with higher prevailing national standards. The author critiques the Court’s decision by highlighting case law, international agreements and European Community law that seek to create fair competition between companies from different nations and protect the right to strike, and would therefore lead to a contrary decision. The author concludes that the decision may lead to further erosion of workers’ rights in the European Union, since the court, for the first time, accepted the company’s rationale that the economic costs of collective bargaining would have been prohibitive.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, European Union, Right to Strike
Newsletter: Vol 8, Issue 11
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Gould, William B. IV, "Globalization in Collective Bargaining, Baseball, and Matsuzaka: Labor and Antitrust Law on the Diamond", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 28 (2007) p. 283-315

Abstract:
This article discusses the increasing globalization of professional baseball by focusing on the 1999 U.S.-Japan Protocol and some of its likely implications for the development of international labor law. Negotiated between Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and its counterpart, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan, the Protocol significantly inhibits the transfer of players from one league to the other by prohibiting teams in one country from making direct contact with a player in the other country for the purpose of negotiating an employment agreement. Instead, during specific time periods, a team may contact the Commissioner of the foreign league, who will then seek approval by the club which employs that player. To obtain approval even to initiate negotiations, the club seeking to acquire the foreign player must make payments to employing club – at times rivaling the amount that is ultimately paid to the player himself – in return for exclusive rights to negotiate with the player. The fees paid to a foreign club dramatically diminishes salary prospects for Japanese players, since it adds considerable "overhead" to the cost of acquiring a foreign player. It also diminishes the overall pool of funds that, in theory, could be devoted to the wages of players in the U.S through collective bargaining. The article points out that, because the Protocol was negotiated without the involvement of the Major League Baseball Players Association, the collective bargaining agent for players in the United States, it is unlikely that it falls under an exemption to the Sherman Antitrust Act for labor unions. Moreover, because it affects the salaries of Major League Baseball players, it is likely that it constitutes either an unlawful refusal to bargain, in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, or a grievance under the MLB/MLBPA collective bargaining agreement. Although prior to signing with a club in the U.S., Japanese players are neither employed by a domestic employer nor working in the United States, decisional law allows the National Labor Relations Board to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction where the labor dispute would have a significant effect on commerce within the United States.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Case Studies: Industry-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Japan, Labor Mobility
Newsletter: Vol 7, Issue 1
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Heinecken, Lindy & Nell, Michelle, "Military Unions and the Right to Collective Bargaining: Insights from the South African Experience", International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations v. 23 no3 (2007) p. 463-483

Abstract:
In many nations, particularly in Europe, civilian and military employment practices continue to converge. In these countries, whether soldiers should be granted labor rights is highly controversial. The author first examines the results of a sociological study on the military to determine why military leadership so vehemently opposes unionization. The author concludes that such opposition stems from two concerns. The first concern stems from ingrained attitudes of military leadership, who prefer to manage employee relationships from a classically unitarist perspective and who believe that unions pose a threat to the systems of order that allow the military to function cohesively. The second, and arguably more dangerous concern is that the military union’s and the military leadership’s goals may align in an agenda that is disfavored by the body politic. In such a case, the military union’s independent political power may doubly empower the military, overpowering citizens’ opposition. In a case study focusing on South Africa, a nation where military leadership has been obligated to bargain with a military union since 2007, the author finds that neither concern has arisen. Internal cohesion and morale have not been threatened, and in fact may have been improved, since the imposition of collective bargaining. Additionally, the military union and the military leadership have not aligned on any politically disfavored agendas, though the author notes that such a circumstance could very well arise. However, given the benefits of unionization to military employees in South Africa, the author concludes that the risks may be worth undertaking.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 11
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Kagan, Joshua, "Workers' Rights in the Mexican Maquiladora Sector: Collective Bargaining, Women's Rights, and General Human Rights: Law, Norms, and Practice", Journal of Transnational Law and Policy v. 15 (Fall 2005) p. 153-180

Abstract:
This note chronicles the emergence of the Mexican maquiladora sector, summarizes the history of Mexican labor law from 1942, and analyzes the connection between the sector's success and the enforcement of labor laws pertaining to it. Kagan details the maquiladoras' human rights concerns in the areas of working conditions, health and safety, wages, women's rights, child labor and unionization. Neither Mexico's strong labor protections nor the labor side-agreement to NAFTA are enforced, because the government prioritizes job creation rather than affirming human rights, and because dominant unions have conspired with government to keep wages low. But the author points to emerging global norms of labor rights and suggests that transnational regulation could prevent a race to the bottom in labor standards without compromising foreign investment and economic development.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Child Labor, Collective Bargaining, Health and Safety, NAFTA/GATT, Women’s Rights
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 12
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Kong, Gina, "Are Women-Only Trade Unions Necessary in South Korea? A Study of Women Workers’ Struggles in Korea’s Labor Market", Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business v. 29 (2009) p. 217-243

Abstract:
Despite South Korea’s transformation into a democracy, women workers still face rampant workplace discrimination. As a result, a majority of South Korean women work irregularly and earn significantly less than their male counterparts. Male-dominated trade unions have continually neglected women’s concerns and have also refrained from organizing smaller, less-skilled workplaces where women are more likely to be employed. Kong argues that women-only trade unions—which first emerged in the seventies, were subsequently quashed by the military dictatorship, and then reemerged in the wake of Korea’s financial crisis in 1997—remain necessary to better women’s wages and working conditions. Women’s unions are also necessary protect the job security of female workers in a society where women are strongly encouraged to exit the workforce upon marriage. Since 1999, women’s unions have succeeded in legalizing the unionization of the unemployed, organizing contingent workers, and passing several laws that improve working conditions for women. Yet many regressive laws and cultural prejudice still remain. Kong urges the women’s unions to continue tackling laws that stereotype women and also to support social policies, like childcare and early education, that benefit women workers.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Women’s Rights
Newsletter: Vol 9, Issue 2
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Koukiadis, Loannis D., "General Characteristics of the Greek Labor Law", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 30 no2 (Winter 2009) p. 145-158

Abstract:
This article summarizes the current state of labor law in Greece, splitting its analysis between "individual labor relations” and “collective labor law.”ť Like most West European countries, Greek law contains protections against discrimination and for extra pay for overtime work. However, Greece departs from most Western European countries by allowing employers to terminate employees without justification or reason. At the same time, unlike most European nations, the Greek Minister of Employment can prevent mass dismissals by decree. Under Greece’s collective labor law, workers are entitled to collective negotiation. If that fails, they are entitled to mediation, and if that fails, to arbitration. For the last fifteen years, mediation and arbitration has been conducted by a non-governmental organization called the Organization of Mediation and Arbitration (OMED), which the author calls successful in deterring major conflicts and important in fighting poverty wages in Greece.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Employment Law
Newsletter: Vol 9, Issue 12
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Layne, Joseph D., "Fighting a Losing Battle: IRCA'S Negative Impact on Law Abiding Employers ", Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review v. 44 (Summer 2011) p. 1431-1475

Abstract:
The author argues that the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (“IRCA”) has created incentives for employers to hire and exploit undocumented workers. The IRCA made it illegal to hire undocumented workers to work in the US without documentation, and shifted the responsibility for compliance to the employer. Employers face sanctions for knowingly hiring undocumented workers, but these sanctions are too weak to deter unscrupulous practices, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman Plastics v. NLRB, in which the Court held that undocumented workers cannot receive backpay when t heir employer violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The author shows that an employer who violates the IRCA by hiring undocumented workers, and violates the NLRA by interfering with their right to unionize will save thousands of dollars per employee over an employer who hires citizen workers and remains neutral to collective bargaining efforts. The author recommends that Congress repeal the IRCA and reinstate the full range of NLRA remedies for undocumented workers.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, Immigration, Labor Mobility, United States
Newsletter: Vol 12, Issue 8
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Lieberwitz, Risa L., "Linking Trade and Labor Standards: Prioritizing the Right of Association", Cornell International Law Journal v. 39 (2006) p. 641-653

Abstract:
Prompted by recent debates over linking bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements with internationally recognized labor standards, the author argues that proponents of such linkage have erred in placing their focus on mandating substantive workplace rights in trade agreements. The author argues that the most important demand to raise is the "procedural" right of full freedom of association for workers affected by the global expansion of capital and international trade agreements. She argues that the exclusive focus on substantive rights is doomed to failure because it underestimates "the power of transnational corporations to continue their global expansion and search for untapped cheap labor." An emphasis on freedom of association instead would allow greater flexibility for workers to confront localized conditions and pursue their own demands for substantive workplace rights through collective bargaining. By assisting workers in setting and pursuing their own priorities for improved labor standards, the author argues that a regime protecting freedom of association would encourage economic growth and development by preserving the competitive advantage of countries of the global South within the global division of labor. Additionally, the localized control of workers over their own collective bargaining demands would, the author argues, solve many of the on-site monitoring and enforcement problems that have been idenitified by other efforts to link trade and labor standards. Even where freedom of association is unlikely to be adequately enforced in the short term, the author argues that this approach nonetheless provides a more promising alternative because it invests power in those most affected by globalization, and begins the long-term process of building cross-border alliances among unions and workers, rather than perpetuating the notion that workers' interests are necessarily tied to improving the competitiveness of "their" employer, "their" sector, or "their" country, at the expense of workers elsewhere.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, Free Trade Agreements, Labor Rights in General (Misc.), Trade Agreements, Trade Conditionality
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 5
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Lyutov, Nikita & Petrylaite, Daiva , "Trade Unions’ Law Evolution in Post-Soviet Countries: The Experiences of Lithuania and Russia", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 30 no4 (Summer 2009) p. 779-799

Abstract:
This article compares the development of trade union legislation in Lithuania and Russia following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It shows that despite two decades of separate development, the most notable features of Russian and Lithuanian trade union legislation have been developing along a very similar direction. For example, under the Soviet system, employees received lower wages, did not enjoy the right to strike, or many other trade union rights traditional for Western workers. On the other hand, Soviet workers didn’t face traditional Western workers’ problems, such as job insecurity because the Soviet Constitution guaranteed the right to work for everyone. As Lithuania and Russia transitioned to market economies following Soviet dissolution, job security was reduced significantly in the interest of economic competitiveness. The authors also discuss a significant practical difference between unions in the two countries due to their relation to former USSR property. All trade unions in the USSR were united within a monopoly association called the VCSPS which held a significant amount of property interests. Lithuania chose to terminate relations with the VCSPS after gaining independence and instead created an atmosphere of competition among Lithuanian trade unions. The result was that the trade unions have constantly fought for ownership of the former Soviet trade unions’ property. The fierce competition, combined with a lack of financial resources, resulted in low levels of union membership and limited bargaining coverage. In contrast, Russia chose to transfer the VCSPS into a new organization called the FNPR which unites 95% of total union members in Russia. As a result, the FNPR inherited not only the members of the VCSPS but also its property, the most valuable of which being real estate worth billions of U.S. dollars. The authors maintain that while the Russian course of action has resulted in rather powerful trade unions, the unions lack meaningful independence from the FNPR and are distrusted by their members.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 2
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Moldof, Stephen B., "Union Responses to the Challenges of an Increasingly Globalized Economy", Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business v. 5 (2005) p. 119-146

Abstract:
This article surveys the responses of some unions in the United States to the challenges of an increasingly globalized employment environment and the varying degrees of success these responses have met. In several instances, U.S.-based unions have tried to form alliances and networks with unions in other countries, often mirroring the structure of their transnational corporate employers. Some U.S.-based unions have also worked with shareholders, human rights and faith-based groups to challenge the human rights and health and safety practices of transnational employers, such as Exxon-Mobil, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Novartis and Rio Tinto. In the airline, maritime, shipping and other industries where workers are especially exposed to global competition, some U.S.-based unions have sought to counter threats of outsourcing by lending support to unions in other countries engaged in strikes or other labor-management disputes and by lobbying governments and legislative bodies to modify bi-lateral and regional trade agreements to include labor, environmental and health and safety standards. In a dispute involving flights between the United States and the Netherlands, mutual solidarity actions by U.S. and Dutch pilots' unions successfully rebuffed employer demands for concessions and began the process of negotiating a multi-party transnational collective bargaining agreement. The author notes that although U.S. law does not prohibit multi-employer/multi-union agreements between parties located both within and outside the United States, some U.S. courts have refused to enforce collective bargaining agreements when the work site was outside the territorial U.S. The author criticizes this "situs" approach as outdated and unhelpful in an increasingly globalized computer-driven environment, in which it is often difficult to identify a single, fixed workplace location. He also notes that inclusion of "choice of law" provisions in international collective bargaining agreements would not solve this problem because private parties are not free to dictate subject matter jurisdiction in U.S. courts. Instead, enforceability of future transnational collective agreements may require international treaties between the respective governments.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Corporate Accountability, Extraterritorial Application of Law, Outsourcing
Newsletter: Vol 6, Issue 4
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Mundlak, Guy, "The Israeli System of Labor Law: Sources and Form", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 30 no2 (Winter 2009) p. 159-182

Abstract:
In this summary of Israeli labor law, the author divides his analysis into four historical eras, in each of which the country borrowed from the norms and laws of another regions’ systems. First, the pre-statehood era saw the formation of the General Histadrut (Israel’s dominant trade union), and with it, a series of labor gentleman’s agreements that, while not binding, served as a foundation for Israel’s developing law. Also during this time, the British Mandate established a system of collective bargaining and social provisions which led to an enduring Israeli corporatist labor pact system. Next, in the early statehood period, Israel first saw a rising number of statutory protections to supplement the collective bargaining based rights. In contrast to the British influence of the pre-statehood period, this era was fundamentally Continental, most resembling the labor law systems of Nordic countries. Third, in the period of 1969-1987, Israel saw the establishment of the Labor Court, which enforced pre-existing collectively-bargained norms as well as filled gaps in the statutory labor laws. Finally, since 1987, when Israeli industrial relations changed dramatically, labor law has shifted towards the North American model of juridifying the collective bargaining process and increasing the role of individual-rights based employment claims. In the opinion of the author, while Israel’s patchwork labor law system is reflective of an unstable industrial relations system, its flexibility may be the best system for preventing stagnation and ossification of labor rights.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Employment Law
Newsletter: Vol 10, Issue 5
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Murray, Gregor, "Can Multiple Weak Ties Reverse the Social Regulation Deficit? Multinational Companies and Labor Regulation", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 33 (Summer 2012) p. 715-747

Abstract:
The author argues that multinational firms pose a challenge to traditional labor organizations because no single union or policy regime can simultaneously affect all of the firm’s component parts. He argues that local regulation and small bargaining units are piecemeal solutions that have little effect on labor standards and social norms. The author begins by providing an overview of some of the major trends in multinational companies and predicts how these trends might affect labor relations. For example, the author describes how companies often operate as strategic actors, escaping a home country’s labor standards by operating in a less regulated host country. He gives a case study about U.S. and European multinational companies operating in Canada, focusing on Canadian labor organizations’ and policy makers’ responses to these companies. The author describes policy and union organizing actions that have largely resulted in net losses for unions and pro-labor politicians, and proposes new avenues for reviving labor standards in an era of increasing globalization. The author proposes that firms and unions work together rather than as adversaries, that multiple stakeholders be brought into discussions involving labor regulations, and that policymakers adopt novel approaches to labor policy, such as mandating the involvement of third party stakeholders in labor arbitration and developing cross-ministry labor law trainings and initiatives

Subjects: Case Studies: Company-Specific, Collective Bargaining, Globalization
Newsletter: Vol 12, Issue 7
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Papadimitriou, Kostas D., "The Managerial Prerogative and the Right and Duty to Collective Bargaining in Greece", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 30 no2 (Winter 2009) p. 273-281

Abstract:
The article summarizes Greek managerial prerogative and collective bargaining law. Managerial prerogative is the employer’s privilege to determine unilaterally any employment terms unspecified in the labor contract and not covered by other law. The author notes that legislation, internal labor codes, collective agreements, company practice, and joint employer/workers council decisions limit managerial prerogative. Employers may not unilaterally alter employment terms if the change causes “material damage” or “ethical injury” to the employee, for instance, by assigning the employee inferior duties. An employee subject to an illegal alteration can demand that the employer restore former working conditions, receive compensation for a constructive contract termination, or accept the change. The Act 1876/90 requires that employers collectively bargain with workers in good faith and disclose information that would facilitate negotiation. It does not require that parties reach an agreement, and it provides no explicit employer sanctions for violations. The Act 1767/1988 requires that employers determine certain conditions—including health and safety rules—jointly with workers councils and requires that employers provide financial and other information to the councils.

Subjects: Case Studies: Country-Specific, Collective Bargaining
Newsletter: Vol 11, Issue 2
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Sciarra, Silvana, "The Evolution of Collective Bargaining: Observations on a Comparison in the Countries of the European Union", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 29 (2007) p. 1-27

Abstract:
This article discusses the evolution of collective bargaining in several European countries. The author describes the variety of collective bargaining systems that exist in the European Union and tracks the evolution of these autonomous systems in a comparative vein. She describes four dimensions of comparative analysis of collective bargaining systems: freedom of association, the "collective status of the bargaining parties," the "normative function of collective agreements," and the "procedural function of collective agreements." The article examines the principle European regulatory schemes and collective bargaining systems along these dimensions. The article also divides the European schemes into systems in which (1) collective agreements take precede legislation - under this scheme, collective bargaining exerts positive influence on the legislature; (2) collective agreements are subject to legal measures extending their applicability' and (3) statute law and collective agreements are complementary sources of authority. The article concludes by contemplating the future implications of the current development of these various collective bargaining systems. It predicts that the future prospects of collective bargaining depend upon the development of transparent presumptions of industrial democracy. It is through such presumptions, the article predicts, that new innovative content can be developed, and new parties can be included in collective bargaining agreements.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, European Union
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Tucker, Eric, "Great Expectations", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 26 no1 (Fall 2004) p. 97-150

Abstract:
This article explores the effects that NAFTA had on collective bargaining laws in Canada and the United States, specifically whether the 'great expectation' that NAFTA would lead to a legislative erosion of collective bargaining laws was realized or not. The first section analyzes the "Race to the Bottom" ("RTB") hypothesis model, which anticipates that trade liberalization will lead to increased mobility of capital and products, increasing competition between employers who will then look to produce more efficiently, making strong labor standards not attractive. This analysis examines the RTB model's limitations such as its absence of factoring in political and economic processes that affect regulatory outcomes, and its narrow focus only private sector labor legislation. It then suggests another model of trade liberalization's effects that takes into account mediating contextual factors such as economic complexity, internal adaptation in the collective bargaining regime, and external environments that shape government policy. The second section uses this new model to assess the trajectory of collective bargaining laws in Canada and the United States . The case studies show that though there has been a downward trajectory in both countries, it has not been as steep as many free-trade critics had predicted because of such variables as internal adaptation through the bargaining process, political and legal influences, the weakening of the effectiveness of the labor laws themselves, and civil society activism. The author also notes that U.S. collective bargaining laws were less affected by competition than Canada because of its already weakened state at the beginning of the free-trade era. The article concludes that the 'great expectation' has been defeated, to the extent that it predicted NAFTA would lead to a dramatic legislative (as opposed to regulatory effectiveness) decline in collective bargaining laws.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, NAFTA/GATT
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 2
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Villiers, Charlotte , "Why Employee Protection Legislation is Still Necessary", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 33 (Spring 2012) p. 481-492

Abstract:
This article discusses the need for new employment protection laws in response to the limited ability of employees to negotiate fairly with employers in the current economic and political climate. The author believes the current financial crisis undermines the protections afforded workers because of the intense competition for jobs. Workers today display a greater willingness to work disproportionate hours, avoid union organization and collective action, and accept reorganization efforts by employers. The lack of a desire for collective action has significantly weakened unions’ ability to obtain acceptable and protective bargaining agreements. This article concludes by arguing for new legislation that supports trade union representation and collective bargaining and notes that the Occupy Wall Street movement might serve as a societal countermovement to the erosion of worker protections.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, Flexibilization, Social & Economic Rights, Working Hours
Newsletter: Vol 12, Issue 3
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Visser, Jelle, "More Holes in the Bucket: Twenty Years of European Integration and Organized Labor", Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal v. 26 (Summer 2005) p. 477-521

Abstract:
This article seeks to answer the question of whether the role of intermediaries such as labor unions will be diminished or eliminated as the European Union continues to adapt to a globalized economy. The first section examines how changes in the labor market (e.g., decentralization of the workplace, heterogeneity of society), and diversification of employment statuses (e.g., temporary, short-term) have led to a new focus on choice by the individual worker and the firm, as opposed to equality in forming labor regulation. The second section explores the current status of labor unions by looking at their density (proportion of members), presence (proportion of workplaces where unions present), coverage (proportion of workplaces whose terms of employment influenced by collective bargaining agreements), and representation (recognition and presence). The author finds that although there has been a general decrease in density and presence, coverage and representation have remained stable. He argues that this shows that there is government as well as public support of unionism. The third section looks at how international competition has led Europe to customize labor regulations by allowing Member States, firms, and individuals to opt-out of common minimum standards. The author queries why international coordination between labor unions is not an adequate method of countering this trend. He concludes that the opt-out option is based on a new partnership approach that leaves labor unions out of the equation, to the detriment of all parties involved. The last section analyzes the limits of the current practice of 'voluntary' agreements and guidelines based on public recommendations and a consensus on 'best practice,' and questions whether these non-binding methods have any effect at all. The article concludes that labor union in the EU have been weakened as labor regulation has become less collective as well as less ambitious.

Subjects: Collective Bargaining, Contingent Work, European Union, Extraterritorial Application of Law, Labor Mobility, Labor Rights in General (Misc.)
Newsletter: Vol 5, Issue 5
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Zimmer, Michael J., "Unions and the Great Recession: Is Transnationalism the Answer?", Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal v. 15 (2011) p. 123-158

Abstract:
This paper discusses how unions in different countries can create a more equal economic order in the wake of the Great Recession. In the first half, the author describes the public policy basis for unionism: that labor is not a commodity and that economic equality can be achieved through collective bargaining. The author then describes neoliberalism, and argues that neoliberalism is fundamentally at odds with unionism because it treats labor as a commodity and sees labor relations as a zero-sum game between capital and labor. To win in a labor dispute, the prevailing party must be able to leverage their economic position against their opponent’s. To illustrate this point, the author describes two strikes, one at a Motts Applesauce plant in New York State, and the other at four Honda plants in China. In China, the tight labor market and high demand for cars gave striking workers an economic advantage, while in New York, a low regional demand for labor and the manufacturer’s product enabled the employer to withstand the strike and ultimately prevail. From these case studies, the author determines that if unions are to maintain relevancy in the wake of the Great Recession, they must do so by influencing entire industries so that their leverage is not dependant on fluctuations in regional labor markets. Unions can do this by opposing globalization entirely or working to correct the aspects of globalization that are unfair. The author argues that unions also should organize entire employment sectors transnationally, and points to the success of the International Transport Workers' Federation and the United Auto Workers as examples of unions that are beginning to reach across national boundaries.

Subjects: China, Collective Bargaining, Labor Mobility, Outsourcing
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