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Re-UnionHow Bold Labor Reforms Can Repair, Revitalize, and Reunite the United States$
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David Madland

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781501755378

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501755378.001.0001

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Answering Skeptics

Answering Skeptics

(p.109) 5 Answering Skeptics

David Madland

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers whether the new labor system could work as intended in the United States and whether alternative policies could better address the country's economic and political problems. It reviews some of the likely implementation challenges the new system would face, including determining the appropriate bargaining unit in a broad-based system and relationship friction between national and local unions, and finds, based on the US historical experience, that the challenges are likely manageable. It also reviews alternatives to the new labor system and argues that while most would be helpful, all have limitations. Other strategies to strengthen labor, such as increased organizing by unions and banning right-to-work laws, are necessary but on their own would not sufficiently increase union density or dramatically increase collective bargaining coverage. Non-union policies — from increased training to a jobs guarantee to campaign finance reform — would do less to raise wages, reduce inequality, or increase political voice. These often rely on strong labor unions to work best. All told, the new labor system is practical and necessary.

Keywords:   new labor system, alternative policies, broad-based bargaining, national unions, local unions, non-union policies, finance reform, labor unions, collective bargaining

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