Rights at Work: Employment Relations in the Post-Union Era (Google eBook)
With growing international competition, American firms have been gaced with increasing pressures to produce better products, cut costs, and improve efficiency. As a result, American employers have changed many of their long-standing labor priorities. Work-force stability has become less important; long-term commitments have become less attractive; and labor costs, especially fringe benefits, have come under increased scrutiny. With this large reorganization of work forces and priorities, Americans are again faced with the significant questions of what rights workers have and should have in the workplace.
In the current environment, employers have a greater need for highly motivated, hard-working, skilled employees, and have often developed innovated forms of management to enlist these worker's support. So too, national legislation has granted workers new rights in recent years, such as mandatory early notification of plant closings, greater rights for workers with disabilities, and increased protection for older workers. State legislators have also enacted expanded protection for workers, and state courts have been rewriting basic legal doctrines governing workers' rights in ways that favor employees.
In this book, Richard Edwards explores workers' rights and the institutions that have defined and are now enforcing them. He looks closely at the decline of American unions and its effect on traditional rights. As unions have been transformed from major institutional players in the American economy to much more marginal brokers enrolling only a small minority of American workers, political support for workers' rights has diminished. Edwards also traces the American state courts' and the ongoing revision of the legal interpretations of employment contracts and employers' promises, a development which he believes may revolutionize traditional employment law.
Rights at Work cuts through the debate between employers' groups and workers' advocates to find a new common ground. Edwards argues that a new system of employment relations offers a "win-win" opportunity, and he proposes some innovative public policy strategies that could protect workers' rights while enhancing employers' ability to succeed in a highly competitive global market.
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Defining Workers Rights
Rights and Workers Rights
Types of Workplace Rights
The Economic Rationale for Workers Rights
Why Special Rights for Workers?
The Conservative Neoclassical View
Market Distortions Facing JobSeekers
Enterprise Rights in the Contemporary Firm
Thinking about Enterprise Rights
What Enterprise Rights Do Workers Have?
Limitations of Enterprise Rights
The Legal Revolution in Enterprise Rights
Three PrecedentSetting Cases
State Courts Rewrite the Law
Employer Response to the Changing Legal Climate
Limited Effectiveness of Recontracting
Inappropriateness of Individual Bargaining
Rethinking Workers Rights
The Shrinking Realm of Collective Bargaining
Workers Rights under the NLRA
The Union Decline
Why Have the Unions Declined?
The Unions Response
The Diminished Role for Unionism
The Limited Reach of Statutory Rights
The Rise of Statutory Rights
Are Statutory Rights Effective?
What Has Been Learned?
The Political Dimension of Statutory Rights
The Limits of Statutory Rights
The Current Situation
Contemplating Common Ground
Employer Stakes in a New Rights Regime
Toward a New Common Ground
Reconstituting Workers Rights
Make Employee Handbooks Mandatory and Public
Make Employee Handbooks Enforceable
Establish an Independent System for Resolving Workers Rights Disputes
The Employees Handbook as Workers Bill of Rights
State Recognition of Implied Contracts