Briefing Paper No. 18 February 10, 1993

Briefing Paper

Are Quality Circles Illegal
Global Competition Meets The New

by Charles W. Baird

Charles W. Baird is professor of economics and director of the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies, California State University, Hayward.

Executive Summary

In an age of growing global competition, American busi ness has just learned that its efforts over the past few years to improve efficiency by involving workers more close ly in making decisions run afoul of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. In December 1992 the National Labor Rela tions Board declared that, in nonunion firms, labor-manage- ment cooperation on a wide range of issues is illegal be cause the committees through which such cooperation takes place amount to "company unions." The full effects of the board's decision in the Electromation case are unknown, but companies are already abandoning their labor-management committees. Meanwhile, organized labor, which brought the Electromation complaint, is stepping up its efforts to capi talize on the decision, arguing that under the law the only way workers can cooperate with management is through unions.

Full Text of Briefing Paper No. 18 (HTML)

1993 The Cato Institute
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