Conciliation of Disputes Over International Labor Standards

TitleConciliation of Disputes Over International Labor Standards
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsZack, A. M.
InstitutionFifth Asian Regional Congress of the International Industrial Relations Association
KeywordsAsia, dispute resolution, globalization, international labor standards, labor relations, mediation
Abstract

[Excerpt] In the decades between the Second World War and the current era of globalization and free trade, those of us in the labor relations world functioned nationally within our borders working with a prescribed set of laws and practices, which we viewed as difficult enough without having to add an international dimension to that mix. Despite the fact that the International Labor Organization since 1919 has promulgated 184 International Conventions on a wide range of workplace inequities. most countries have operated with scant regard for, let alone adoption of those Conventions. In each of our countries we have applied our own domestic mix of law and practice to channel union, management, employment disputes into established procedures which were able to achieve resolution of those disputes whether through the use of law and the judicial system, or special labor courts, or through private dispute resolution systems. Even though none of our systems of dispute resolution has been perfect, they have usually been successful in forestalling greater conflict and unrest over unresolved claims of worker rights or workplace justice. We have had a distinct roster of players, a prescribed legal structure for resolving anticipated disputes and players who were usually committed to the resolution of their disputes and the continued operation of the economy in which they worked.

In the United States the dispute resolution system does not include works councils, industry councils, labor courts or multiple unionism. Rather we have a system, which provides trade union representation to a scant 12 % of the work force. The remainder of our 125,000,000 workers operates under the doctrine of termination at the employers’ option, with resort to the traditional legal and judicial system only on issues involving allegations of statutory violation. The parties traditionally use mediation and arbitration as the standard procedures for bringing resolution to collective bargaining disputes. Nonunionized employers often develop their own internal medition and arbitration structures for resolving employee complaints with or without employee option on access to the courts. Nevertheless, in our system as in yours, the established metes and bounds of our formal and informal structures have generally minimized industrial unrest and conflict, hopefully with an eye to protecting fairness in the workplace. Throughout this period we had little more than perhaps academic concern as to work practices in other nations.

URLhttp://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/people/staffPapers/zack/ArnoldZack_korean_paper.pdf