Journal Article

The power to create or obstruct employee voice: does US public policy skew employer preference for ‘no voice’ workplaces?

Michael H. LeRoy

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 4, issue 2, pages 311-319
Published in print May 2006 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwl010
The power to create or obstruct employee voice: does US public policy skew employer preference for ‘no voice’ workplaces?

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Employer demand for voice organizations is severely constrained in the US by a National Labor Relations Act section that outlaws company unions and their functional counterparts. This case study of pertinent NLRB decisions since 1993 shows no relaxation in this strict public policy. Aside from ‘no voice’ and ‘union voice’ options, three ‘voice’ organizations are available to employers: (i) self-managed work teams, (ii) disciplinary committees and (iii) teams or committees that address efficiency, work process or product quality. The first two types are allowed if employers cede control to these self-governing bodies. The third form has limited appeal because of the restrictive range of work subjects that can be addressed. The NLRB continues to prohibit more ambitious types of voice organizations. It is not surprising that substitute unions are found unlawful, but the Board has also ruled against a worker council that provided genuine expression of employee voice.

Keywords: employee voice; company unions; employers; JEL classification: J5, J48, K42

Journal Article.  3177 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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