[Excerpt] Despite talk in the media and academia concerning worker attitudes about unions and workplace participation, there is precious little data to inform any of these discussions. Thus, research of the scope and scale of the Workplace Representation and Participation Study is of enormous value to the field of industrial relations because it provides important insights into worker attitudes about their jobs, rights, power, and future opportunities.
Yet, because there is so little other data available to put Freeman and Rogers's research into context, it becomes all the more essential that we bring great care to our analysis of their findings. This is especially true when we examine the question of whether workers do want more participation and, if so, what form it should take. At the center of the Freeman and Rogers study are several key words: power and cooperation, employee association and union, independent and collective voice, and discussions and negotiations. These words are most likely interpreted very differently by each worker surveyed and each reader of the analysis.