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Disintegrating Democracy at WorkLabor Unions and the Future of Good Jobs in the Service Economy$
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Virginia Doellgast

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450471

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450471.001.0001

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Changes in Markets and Collective Bargaining

Changes in Markets and Collective Bargaining

(p.28) 2 Changes in Markets and Collective Bargaining
Disintegrating Democracy at Work

Virginia Doellgast

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines changes in markets and industrial relations in the U.S. and German telecommunications industries. Government-led market liberalization (and, in Germany, privatization) has meant that market conditions and ownership structures are increasingly similar between Germany and the United States. The former monopolists face growing price competition from new firms with lower fixed costs and weaker or no labor unions. As a result, bargaining coverage has declined and bargaining has become increasingly decentralized in unions' traditional strongholds. At the same time, German unions have held on to past sources of power at the workplace level in core firms, primarily through their relationships with strong and independent works councils. This chapter shows that both Germany and the United States had moved toward less coordinated collective bargaining and weaker unions by the late 2000s.

Keywords:   industrial relations, telecommunications industries, market liberalization, privatization, Germany, United States, price competition, labor unions, works councils, collective bargaining

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