May 13, 2011
Estreicher on Negotiating the People's Capital Revisited
Sam Estreicher (NYU Law) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming piece in the Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal: Negotiating the People's Capital Revisited.
Here is the abstract:
What follows is the second part of an unofficial transcript of an off-the-record conversation among three of the labor movement's leading strategists. (The first installment appeared under the title “Strategy for Labor,” 22 J. Labor Research 569 (Summer 2001), and has been updated as “Strategy for Labor Revisited,” available www.ssrn.com). This second meeting was also convened by C, or "cooperationist," who had been for over ten years the president of a local union, part of a major industrial union, representing 3,000 employees who had been hired to staff a new manufacturing plant in a Southern town ("Newplant"). Newplant had been widely touted as a breakthrough in U.S. labor-management relations because it was consciously designed to promote greater participation of production and maintenance workers in business decisions and a “partnership” role role for union officials alongside traditional management officials. In bitterly contested local elections last year, C was voted out of office and now serves in a staff capacity at the AFL-CI0. A, or "adversarialist," perhaps surprisingly a longstanding friend of C, is the research director of another industrial union. A was very active in the Students for A Democratic Society in the 1960s, and after graduating from Oberlin College began his career as a labor organizer, working for a succession of unions that had been active in the McGovern-Kucinich wing of the Democratic Party. S, or "stay the course," is the highly respected chief of staff for a national union representing government workers. Section headings and parenthetical references are supplied by the editor and do not appear in the original transcript.
Fascinating and revealing. I, like many others, believe we are at a cross-roads in deciding how to promote employee voice in the New American workplace. This insights by different union strategists should give people much to ponder.
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