Publication Date

Spring 1998


[Excerpt] Arguably the leading issue for current labor law research is whether the existing system of law based on the Wagner Act model can continue to be relevant and appropriate for the contemporary workplace. Changes in the environment of work during the over half-century since this model was developed have brought pressures for re-evaluation and adaptation of key elements of its structure. Criticism of this system has focused on a number of areas, including: the reliance on the formal grievance procedure and arbitration; the separation of the realms of collective bargaining and business decision making; the limitations on employee participation in the workplace; and various weaknesses in the protection of the right to organize. Broad questions have been raised as to whether this system of law can provide reasonable worker access to collective representation, respond to the needs of those who do manage to invoke its protection, or provide an appropriate structure for management of employment in modem organizations. If not, perhaps it should be replaced by some entirely different legal structure. However, given the political and institutional impediments and unlikelihood of an imminent wholesale change in the system of labor law, the pressing question remains: to what degree can the current system be adapted and made relevant for the contemporary workplace?


Suggested Citation
Colvin, A. J. S. (1998). Rethinking bargaining unit determination: Labor law and the structure of collective representation in a changing workplace [Electronic version]. Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, 15(2), 419-490.

Required Publisher Statement
© Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.