Collective Bargaining as an Instrument of Social Change

Collective Bargaining as an Instrument of Social Change

by David C. Jacobs


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This provocative book makes the case that trade unions must intervene in economic restructuring in order to halt the erosion of job quality in today's economy. The author, who is a professor at the Kogod College of Business Administration at The American University in Washington, D.C., specializes in labor-management relations and the social responsibilities of business and has brought both of these disciplines into focus for this book. Jacobs forcefully argues that collective bargaining is not merely a means to determine wages and benefits, but is also a powerful social tool that can move the corporation toward more socially responsible and responsive forms. While American unions are currently very weak, their regeneration should be a matter of public concern.

Jacobs considers shopfloor organization, health-care delivery, and public education in the United States, as well as the process of democratization in Poland and South Africa, and explains how transformational bargaining by trade unions may promote favorable outcomes. The author explores the conventional wisdom in industrial relations theory and argues that business unionism, which focuses on bread and butter, is not an adequate model for American labor. Instead, unions can and must negotiate profound change in organizations. Unions can win bargains that preserve jobs, alter product lines, extend ownership, and redraw organizational boundaries. These possibilities are illuminated in case studies on such topics as auto manufacturing, public schools and Italian unionism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899306940
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/30/1994
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 1370L (what's this?)

About the Author

DAVID C. JACOBS is Associate Professor of Labor, Business, and Society at the Department of Management, Kogod College of Business Administration, American University. He has consulted with trade unions on strategic issues and monitored international human rights issues for Americans for Democratic Action. Jacobs has published a number of essays exploring the potential of labor negotiations as an avenue for social change in such journals as Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Negotiation Journal, Labor Studies Journal, and The Academy of Management Review.

Table of Contents



Adversary Participation and Transformational Bargaining

Business Unionism

Pragmatism, Social Intelligence, and Action

Management-Sponsored Reform

The Auto Workers Union

Teachers and Transformational Bargaining

Grand Bargains

Obstacles to Transformational Bargaining in the United States

International Experience with Transformational Bargaining

Conclusions: The Concept of Social Enterprise

A Dialogue

Appendix: The Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations

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