Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1989

Abstract

Labor law bulks large on the docket of the United States Supreme Court. Yet never would I have included Charles D. Bonanno Linen Service, Inc. v. NLRB, dealing with the seemingly mundane issue of an employer's right to withdraw from multiemployer bargaining, in the select company of cases addressing such pulse-quickening subjects as affirmative action, picketing as free speech, and union antitrust liability. Professor Douglas Leslie's elegant and provocative article shows just how wrong I was--or at least just how far imaginative analysis can go toward seeing a world in a grain of sand. I lay no claim to expertise as a labor economist, and, therefore, I do not attempt a systematic critique of Leslie's article. Instead, my remarks will touch upon two rather discrete areas about which Leslie has stimulated my thinking. First, I shall make some "fly-specking" observations on a few of Leslie's specific points, with my purpose usually being to seek clarification or further explanation. Second, I will underscore the noneconomic aspects of a labor union's nature and purposes and suggest that there are inherent limitations to any strictly economic analysis of such an organization's behavior.


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