Social Partnership in Germany: Lessons for U.S. Labor and Management
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German industrial relations in the postwar period have made a major contribution to German industrial success. The German system is rooted in the explicit recognition of well organized interests: strong, assertive employers and employers' associations not afraid to demand what they think is right, including wage restraint as well as reorganization of production toward "lean production"; and strong, assertive unions not afraid to demand what they think is right, including broad skills training, high wages, a shorter workweek, and a "human-centered" work organization. Amazingly, these strong forces end up with negotiated outcomes in a system that is accurately called "social partnership."