Review of the Book 'Labor Relations and the Litigation Explosion'
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[Excerpt] Labor Relations and the Litigation Explosion is a very readable book that is easily accessible to nonspecialists. (The author has presented more technical treatments of the material elsewhere; see Flanagan 1986a, 1986b.) The early chapters begin with a discussion of federal policy towards labor relations in the United States under the National Labor Relations Act, a documentation of the growth of unfair labor practice charges that occurred over the 1950-1980 period and then a demonstration that this growth can be only partially "explained" by the changing industrial and regional distribution of employment in the United States. Quite interestingly, he presents comparative data from Canada, which has a regulatory system for labor relations similar to the NLRA, and shows that similar growth occurred there. Chapter 4 then critically surveys the extensive prior literature that purports to show how unfair labor practice charges have influenced union growth in the United States; Flanagan's conclusion here, buttressed by some empirical work of his own, is that changes in labor law policy are unlikely to have a broad influence on the degree of union representation in the economy.
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labor relations; National Labor Relations Act; NLRA; labor law; union representation
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Required Publisher Statement: © American Economic Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.