Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



A half century after the passage of the Wagner Act the right to bargain collectively remains a glowing but imperfectly realized promise for American workers. In recent years even the theoretical dimensions of the right have been markedly compressed. Yet collective bargaining was conceived in the widespread belief that both the cause of industrial peace and the welfare of the individual employee would be promoted if workers were given a genuine voice in determining their employment conditions. Why has the process apparently lost so much appeal? Does it still hold hope for the future?

In this paper I shall review briefly the major policy choices confronting the early formulators of collective bargaining law, trace some of the more important doctrinal and practical developments over the intervening decades, and ruminate a bit about where we should go from here.


Reproduced with permission. Bloomberg Law, Copyright 2022 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)