Union Participation in Strategic Decisions of Corporations

Eileen Appelbaum and Larry W. Hunter

in Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780226261577
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226261812 | DOI:
Union Participation in Strategic Decisions of Corporations

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In the United States, the explicit representation of workforce interests in strategic decision-making processes of corporations is rare. Participation in strategic decisions—those that affect the basic direction of the company—is unusual even when workforce interests are represented collectively through labor unions. This chapter examines labor-management experiments with two institutions through which strategic participation for unions might be realized: negotiated union-management partnership agreements and union representation on corporate boards. It first considers the problem of corporate governance and reviews the rationale for strategic partnerships. It then discusses the prevalence of partnerships in the United States and describes negotiated partnerships as well as union involvement in corporate boards of directors. The chapter assesses the challenges and dilemmas unions face in seeking strategic partnerships and concludes with observations on public policy.

Keywords: strategic decision-making; boards of directors; labor unions; strategic partnerships; negotiated union-management partnership agreements; union representation; United States; corporate governance; public policy

Chapter.  11131 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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