• Against Labour & Employment Law

    I promised that I would pass along some leading writings that advocate against unions, collective bargaining, and strong employment law protections.  Here are some that I quickly through together:

    Richard Posner

    Some Economics of Labor Law

    Economic Analysis of Sex Discrimination Laws

    Richard Epstein:

    The Case Against the Employee Free Choice Act”

    The Ominus Employee Free Choice Act

    In Defense of Contact at Will (arguing against a rule that requires employers to have a reason to fire an employee)

    A Critique of the New Deal Labor Legislation

    His Book Simple Rules for a Complex World includes parts on labour and employment law

    His book Forbidden Grounds argues against human rights laws

    Bruce Kauffman

    Labor Law and Employment Regulation: Neoclassical and Institutional Perspectives (reviews the debates about whether work law is good or bad)

    Morley Gunderson

    Minimum Wage: Issues and Options for Ontario (studying whether the minimum wage is good public policy)

    Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek

    Here are some videos of famous Neoconservative commentators talking about why employment and labour laws are bad (Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek), as well as represenatives of other prominent perspectives.

    Critiques of Labour Law from the Left

    I should note too that there are lots of critiques of collective labour law models not only from the ‘law and economics’ and political right, but also from the “left”. 

    Judy Fudge and other feminist scholars have long argued that the Wagner model favours and reinforces the privilege of white males, for example.  If that interests you, then look at her work, and mine her footnotes for others. However, while feminist scholars sometimes critique ‘labour law’, they usually are in favour of strong employment regulation protections.

    Others, like David Beatty of U of T Law School, made a similar argument against the Wagner model, and argued that majority unionism and many of the core rules in the Wagner model should be abolished.  His stuff is dated now, but there is a great piece he wrote setting out this argument in a book from the 1980s called:  “Ideology Politics and Unionism” in Swan and Swinton (ed.) Studies in Canadian Labour Law (Toronto: Butterworths, 1982).

    And other critical/Marxist scholars have argued that labor laws like the Wagner model serve the purpose of capital by ‘de-radicalizing” workers and channeling them into a carefully controlled model where industrial and class conflict are squashed by employers, the state, and unions, who are required to police their own members.  Works by  Leo Panitch and Donald SwartzRichard Hyman (from LSE), and many others who will be cited in their works.

    So there’s a short list of some of the more infuential arguments and commentators who challenge the normative claim that collective bargaining and (sometimes) employment regulation are good.


    Published on April 15, 2013 · Filed under: General;
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