Should Congress outlaw the use of “permanent replacements” During Strikes? Advantages, Disadvantages and Alternatives to Public Sector Strikes

Topics: National Labor Relations Act, Trade union, Negotiation Pages: 11 (3597 words) Published: August 2, 2014
Should Congress outlaw the use of "permanent replacements" During Strikes?

Advantages, Disadvantages and Alternatives to Public Sector Strikes

Charlie Morgan

University of Maryland University College

Adelphi, Maryland

Strike replacement occurs when employers hire or use individual to perform the work of employees on strike. In the United States, it is not unfair labor practice for employers to replace the striking workers with others in effort to carry on the company's business. Most other industrialized nations, however, do not allow permanent strike replacement. The United States is already unique among its trading partners in allowing permanent strike replacements and ban on permanent strike replacement would probably raise labor costs and harm international competiveness. For decades, employers have been permitted to hire permanent replacements for striking employees, Congressional action may change this situation, and however, any legislative changes on this issue will most likely become a political hot potatoes for most member of congress or face a probable presidential veto. (Budd, J.W) "But to maintain a balance of power between employees and employers, hiring permanent replacements is not allowed" and The United States Congress should outlaw the use of permanent replacement workers during strikes and I would argue the followings: workers investments, minimize strategic behavior, encouragement of collective bargaining, voice, Mackay doctrine, role of the law, employer has no real incentive to negotiate, Striker replacements, mandatory or permissive issue, What if negotiations fail and Italian model and Advantages, Disadvantages and Alternatives to Public Sector Strikes.

I assert that the key distinction that should be made in the law of striker replacements is one based on the degree of firm­ specific investments made by the workers involved in the strike. By focusing on that feature, the law could prevent the use of a strike or the hiring of permanent replacements as an opportunistic behavior weapon designed to expropriate the other party's rents. Although several proxies could potentially be available to the courts or the NLRB, there are no clear guidelines or definitions that facilitate such distinctions.

Banning of replacement workers during strike would further the argument that if Congress make the decision of whether to hire striker replacements a mandatory issue of bargaining, unions and employers could make the distinction between firm-specific and general investments made by workers and thus enforce the contract so as to minimize strategic behavior.

Outlawing strike replacement workers would support among the goals of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which was the promotion and encouragement of collective bargaining. The sponsors of this Act viewed collective bargaining as the means to promote a new labor policy without having to directly regulate the terms of the employment relationship. In enacting the NLRA, Congress rejected a more interventionist approach and opted instead for a system that emphasized the distinct roles of labor and management in which outcomes were to be determined by the ability of the parties to impose economic pressure on each other through the negotiation process. Furthermore, it is somewhat ironic that among the several alternatives that have been progressive to deal with the striker replacements issue, in cases where replacement workers were used, there has been no attempt to use the collective bargaining process as a possible solution. But by incorporating the striker replacement decision into the bargaining process a non-zero-sum situation can be created which makes both parties better off, while at the same time advancing the NLRA's objectives of industrial peace and collective bargaining by protecting the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the...
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