Labor Relations: Striking a Balance
Publication Date 8 Jan 2017
OverviewLabor relations are not just about negotiating thick contracts and work rules. Traditional labor relations textbooks are dominated by rich descriptions of the how, what, and where of the major labor relations processes - what's missing is the WHY. Labor relations processes and work rules are simply a means to more fundamental objectives. What are these objectives? Under what conditions are collectively bargained work rules a desirable or undesirable method for achieving these objectives? In the 21st century world of work, are there better ways of pursing these objectives? These are the central and engaging questions of labor relations - questions ignored by textbooks that narrowly focus on how the existing labor relations processes and detailed work rules operate in practice. The labor relations system is in flux. Designing new policies, practices, and strategies that are effective hinges on a deep understanding of the employment relationship and the past, present, and future of labor relations. Budd 5e replaces the tired paradigm of "labor relations equal detailed work rules" with the dynamic paradigm of "labor relations equal balancing workplace goals and rights." This is not to say that the existing processes are unimportant. Labor law, union organizing, bargaining, dispute resolution, and contract administration are central topics that are thoroughly covered in the heart of the 5th edition using diverse historical and contemporary examples. This edition includes diverse material to provide for a diverse perspective to labor relations. Budd focuses on how traditional labor relations processes (like negotiating contacts) work and also WHY these processes exist. The author encourages students to consider whether there are better ways of achieving these objectives - with traditional unions, with new types or unions, or without any unions at all. Budd presents labor relations as a system for balancing employment relationship goals (efficiency, equity, and voice) and the rights of labor and management. By weaving these themes with the importance of alternative perspectives on the nature of employment relationship throughout the text, students can learn not only how the traditional labor relations processes work, but also why these processes exist and how to evaluate whether they are working. In this way, students can develop a deeper understanding of labor relations that will help them successfully navigate a contemporary labor relations system that faces severe pressures requiring new strategies, policies, and practices.