[Excerpt] Mismanagement is so widespread and its effects upon job security, wages and standards are so damaging to labor that unions must expand the traditional boundaries of their authority and begin to experiment with ways to challenge "management prerogatives." While some people may argue that such a direction will lead to "enterprise unionism," those arguments have many of the same weaknesses as those against worker ownership and power-sharing. The alternative in our current situation is to passively allow managers to continue to destroy jobs and communities. Those who hope to rebuild our economy based upon more humane principles will need a constituency which includes union members who have, at the local level, really dug in and challenged mismanagement, posing alternatives to save jobs.

The discussion below covers the most common and damaging forms of mismanagement; the rest of this issue of Labor Research Review shows what unions can and have done to challenge bad management. It does nor cover subjects which many of us consider mismanagement of the overall economy, such as socially destructive deregulation, laissez-faire trade policies, or the massive diversion of precious financial and technical resources to the military. While not ignoring such national economic issues, the training for empowerment for more grass-roots control of the economy has to begin with local campaigns where local unions and their allies have immediate organizing handles.