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Works Councils

Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations

As the influence of labor unions declines in many industrialized nations, particularly the United States, the influence of workers has decreased. Because of the need for greater involvement of workers in changing production systems, as well as frustration with existing structures of workplace regulation, the search has begun for new ways of providing a voice for workers outside the traditional collective bargaining relationship.

Works councils—institutionalized bodies for representative communication between an employer and employees in a single workplace—are rare in the Anglo-American world, but are well-established in other industrialized countries. The contributors to this volume survey the history, structure, and functions of works councils in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Canada, and the United States. Special attention is paid to the relations between works councils and unions and collective bargaining, works councils and management, and the role and interest of governments in works councils. On the basis of extensive comparative data from other Western countries, the book demonstrates powerfully that well-designed works councils may be more effective than labor unions at solving management-labor problems.

Table of Contents

1: The Study of Works Councils: Concepts and Problems
Joel Rogers, Wolfgang Streeck.
2: An Economic Analysis of Works Councils
Richard B. Freeman, Edward P. Lazear.
3: Germany: From Collective Voice to Co-management
Walther Muller-Jentsch
4: The Netherlands: From Paternalism to Representation
Jelle Visser
5: France: From Conflict to Social Dialogue?
Robert Tchobanian
6: Spain: Works Councils or Unions?
Modesto Escobar
7: Sweden: Joint Councils under Strong Unionism
Goran Brulin
8: Italy: The Costs and Benefits of Informality
Ida Regalia
9: The European Community: Between Mandatory Consultation and Voluntary
Wolfgang Streeck, Sigurt Vitols.
10: Poland: Councils under Communism and Neoliberalism
Michal Federowicz, Anthony Levitas.
11: Works Councils in Western Europe: From Consultation to Participation
Wolfgang Streeck
12: Canada: Joint Committees on Occupational Health and Safety
Elaine Bernard
13: United States: Lessons from Abroad and Home
Joel Rogers
Author Index
Subject Index

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