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Labor Relations: Process and Outcomes.


Labor Relations: Process and Outcomes. By Marcus H. Sandver. Boston, MA, Little, Brown and Co, 1987.

529 pp. $29.50. Why a new addition to the already ample supply of industrial relations textbooks (or books summarizing original research used for instructional purposes)? Professor Marcus H. Sandver tells us that his offering contributes to an " . . . interdisciplinary understanding . . . " derived f"comprehensive review of the historical, legal and institutional aspects of Labor relations . . . " However, the uniqueness of this approach is difficult to discern, since what we have is a text that, for the most part, covers the standard topics in a fairly conventional way. Regrettably, more often than not, it does not reach the level of treatment found in a number of texts currently in use.

For example, the discussion of the Taft-Hartley Act is limited to a recital of the key features of the law; no analysis or assessment of its effects is included. The same criticism applies to the treatment of the Landrum-Griffin Act, the emergency procedures of the Railway Labor Act, and the right-to-work controversy. A single chapter of 26 pages tries to cover contract provisions ranging from management rights to seniority, wages and fringe benefits, doing justice to none of them.

In a generally well-rounded chapter on collective bargaining in the public sector, the author states that "Congress was not allowed to pass laws dealing with the internal Labor relations policies of the various State governments." One must assume that the author is referring to the 1976 Supreme Court decision in National League of Cities v. Usery, which has been widely interpreted as limiting the Federal Government's role in regulating State employees. However, this case was overruled in 1985, in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, thereby apparently leaving Congress free to act in this area should it decide to do so.

The above observations notwithstanding, there are several strong points in this volume, notably the chapters on collective bargaining structure, bargaining theory, and Labor history. It is, on the whole, very readable, balanced, and extensively documented. There are well-founded expectations that future editions will increase the book's usefulness for instructional purposes and assure it wide acceptance.

One final comment: The author may want to rethink the heading of Chapter 12, "Outcomes of Bargaining: Strikes and Industrial Conflict," in light of the fact that approximately 95 percent of all contract negotiations are settled peacefully.
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Author:Cohany, Harry P.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 1988
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