Paul Weiler

Recent Articles

Who Will Represent Labor Now?

As labor unions see their role diminish, others attempt to take their place as the employees' representatives. Will it be lawyers, government regulators, or "human resource managers" in the executive suites? Or will the employees gain some direct representation in the workplace?

A popular theory, advanced by many who write about business today, proclaims that the age of the adversarial trade union is past and the age of the flexible, responsive corporation is upon us. As reasons for the change, analysts point to the shift of jobs from manufacturing to services, the globalization of production, and the increased need of firms to adapt quickly and easily to changing markets and technology. Some business analysts celebrate the trend as a happy and necessary turn. Unions are shrinking, they say, not because companies are suppressing them, but because collective bargaining no longer fits the conditions of the economy or the needs of workers. No one doubts that deep economic trends are shaking the foundations of unionism as well as causing major shifts in corporate structure. Conflicts between employees and management, however, have scarcely disappeared; if anything, serious new problems have emerged. In recent years, for example, leveraged buyouts and other...