Washington Law Review


Worker participation and labor-management cooperation have been important concepts in labor relations for more than a decade. Recently, some proponents of labor management cooperation have argued that the statutory prohibition against employer assistance to labor organizations contained in section 8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act has hampered the development of worker participation programs and ought to be repealed or modified. Others are opposed both to repealing the prohibition and to labor-management cooperation in general. This Article argues that worker participation and labor-management cooperation are beneficial and ought to be encouraged; nonetheless, the prohibition against employer-assisted labor organizations is important to protect against employer interference with union organization, and ought to remain in place. The Article reviews the early cases arising under section 8(a)(2), as well as two important recent decisions, Electromation and DuPont, and concludes that neither the statute nor these cases prevent the development of worker participation programs aimed at improving productivity, quality and efficiency. The Article concludes that proposals to amend or repeal section 8(a)(2) would lead to schemes that would threaten employee rights, evade unionization, and seriously damage the credibility of legitimate worker participation programs.

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