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Management rights: a legal and arbitral analysis.

Management Rights: A Legal and Arbitral Analysis.

By Marvin Hill, Jr. and Anthony V. Sinicropi. Washington, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., 1986. 560 pp. $40.

Source books that deal with questions of legal rights for practitioners usually face the kind of dilemma that confronts do-it-yourself guides to medicine: offer summary descriptions and readers may not be able to tell when they have a problem, but present a detailed discussion and they may start to think that they can cut the doctor out of the process. Marvin Hill, Jr. and Anthony V. Sinicropi have avoided that dilemma by writing a book that is not for practitioners in the usual sense but for the labor relations "doctors'--arbitrators and those who present arbitration cases.

The book focuses on the issue of management rights under collective bargaining agreements--situations where the agreements do not clearly specify the rights of the parties. In fact, the book's theme is much broader than what many arbitrators will think of as management rights issues, in that it goes beyond such common problems as technological change and job assignment to consider virtually every set of circumstances where contracts may be silent. This broad coverage has the great advantage of presenting a single source for all such issues. However, some issues, such as employee discipline and discharge and seniority decisions, have already been discussed in depth elsewhere, and readers may want to consult the existing literature.

The book traces the evolution of management rights primarily through a detailed analysis of arbitration decisions, although rulings of the National Labor Relations Board, case law, and legislation are also considered. It begins by discussing some general issues, such as the important role of past practice in determining management rights, and then addresses various areas of those rights in turn. Perhaps the most interesting section of the book is the discussion of areas where management's interests may conflict with employees' interests in privacy, for example, the use of polygraph tests and surveillance and searches in the workplace. Separate discussions of management's rights with respect to medical and psychiatric screening, including drug testing and the handling of employees with AIDS, make the book very topical.

Management Rights is obviously not a book for everyone. Nonarbitrators involved in day-to-day labor relations should of course be aware that the analyses of the issues here will not necessarily help determine how a given arbitrator might rule on a particular issue because the precedential value of arbitration decisions is limited at best. In terms of reading, the book is filled with quotations and citations that combined with the often convoluted path of arbitration decisions make it considerably slower going than, say, your average gothic novel.

But this detail is precisely what results in a very useful book, especially for arbitrators and lawyers who have limited experience with some of the issues raised here because they can quickly see the line of reasoning in previous decisions. By identifying the trends in arbitration decisions in the difficult area of management's rights, the authors have traveled through relatively uncharted waters and have contributed a real service to the field of labor relations.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Cappelli, Peter
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 1, 1986
Words:520
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