Union Participation in Strategic Decisions of Corporations

TitleUnion Participation in Strategic Decisions of Corporations
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsAppelbaum, E., and Hunter, L. W.
EditorFreeman, R., Hersch, J., and Mishel, L.
Book TitleEmerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty First Century
Pagination265 - 291
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Keywordscorporate governance, labor relations, strategic partnerships

This paper reviews workforce participation in strategic decisions - those that affect the basic direction of the company - when workforce interests are represented collectively through unions. We consider the problem of corporate governance and review the rationale for what we term strategic partnerships' between management and labor. The paper describes the prevalence of such partnerships in the U.S., focusing on two institutions through which unions have engaged in discussion of strategic issues: negotiated union-management partnership agreements, and union representation on corporate boards. We offer detailed accounts of specific strategic partnerships and of union involvement on corporate boards, showing that unions face a range of challenges in constructing partnerships that extend possibilities for effective representations of workers' interests.