The Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations was announced by Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich and Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown on March 24, 1993 to report on the following questions:
- What (if any) new methods or institutions should be encouraged, or required, to enhance work-place productivity through labor-management cooperation and employee participation?
- What (if any) changes should be made in the present legal framework and practices of collective bargaining to enhance cooperative behavior, improve productivity, and reduce conflict and delay?
- What (if anything) should be done to increase the extent to which work-place problems are directly resolved by the parties themselves, rather than through recourse to state and federal courts and government regulatory bodies?"
On June 2, 1994 the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce released the Fact Finding Report of the Commission and an Executive Summary.
After release of the Fact Finding Report, the Commission consulted widely through public hearings, working parties comprised of several members of the Commission, and it received a variety of views in correspondence, studies and articles from representatives of business groups, labor organizations, professional associations, academics, women's organizations, civil rights and other interested groups, andindividuals. This material is included in the public record of the Commission which was closed on November 14, 1994 by notice in the Federal Register. By this consultative process the Commission has sought to receive the widest possible comments on its Fact Finding Report as well as proposals for its conclusions and recommendations for this, its final report.
The Commission held four additional national hearings after the issuance of its Fact Finding Report in Washington, D.C., making a total of 21 public hearings, including the 11 national and six public hearings in various cities around the country held previously. In the four most recent public hearings, the Commission followed the practices developed in its regional hearings to encourage representatives of organizations or individuals to volunteer to make presentations or to file written statements, should adequate time for all not be available. The agenda of each of these four sessions and a listing of those who testified and their affiliations are presented in Appendix B.
The Commission appreciates the assistance of the various organizations and individuals that helped to organize and make presentations to the Commission and its working parties.
A total of 57 persons testified before the Commission in its four hearings in July to September 1994, making a total of 411 witnesses in the 21 public hearings. The transcripts of the four hearings after the Fact Finding report run to 823 pages, making a total of 4,681 pages for all public hearings before the Commission.
The Commission has received since May 1994 a number of studies and presentations outside of public hearings that provide additional information to its fact-finding phase. More than 160 statements have been received since the Fact Finding Report that have been entered in the public record of the Commission. Among these items are the following:
- United States General Accounting Office, Workplace Regulations, Information on Selected Employer and Union Experiences, Vols. I and II, June 1994.
- Industrial Relations Counselors, Inc., Report on the IRC Survey of Employee Involvement, August 1994, and Results of the ORC Survey on the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Employment Related Disputes, November 1994.
- Princeton Survey Research Associates, Worker Representation and Participation Survey, Top-Line Results, October, 1994.
- U.S. Department of Labor, Report on the American Workforce, 1994; Women~s Bureau, Working Women Count, A Report to the Nation, 1994.
- American Civil Liberties Union, The Private Arbitration of Employment Disputes, November 1994.
A working party of the Commission has continued to meet with a designated committee of the Small Business Council of the Chamber of Commerce to receive views and perspectives on the Fact Finding Report. Another working party met with representatives of ten organizations reflecting the interests of low-wage workers and received a statement of ~Potential Administrative and Regulatory Initiatives to Protect Contingent Workers,~ October 1994.
A further working party of the Commission met on several occasions to receive the further views of a group of women~s organizations that had also testified before the Commission. Representatives of labor and management organizations under the Railway Labor Act have met on occasions with still another working party of the Commission. Meetings have also been held with a number of representatives of the civil rights community.
The Chair of the Commission had held a series of meetings with the Enforcement Council of the Department of Labor and a number of its component agencies to secure data on staffing, and on the flow and volume of investigations, complaints, cases and litigation in the administration of employment laws within the purview of these agencies with reference to the third mission statement of the Commission. The National Labor Relations Board and its General Counsel has provided similar data. Discussions have been held also with the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the EEOC ADR Task Force. The cooperation of these agencies is appreciated.
The Commission has received a further letter from the Republican members of the House Committee on Education and Labor dated September 29, 1994. (See p. 111, note 5, of the Fact Finding Report for reference to the first letter.)
The Commission deliberated on all the above information from a variety of perspectives, the Commission reached broad agreement on the issues it was charged to address. A separate perspective by Commissioner Fraser on some aspects of employee involvement is included in Section II.
This report of the Commission is focused on the three questions of its Mission Statement, considering each question separately but also recognizing that these issues and the Commission~s recommendations constitute a highly interdependent whole.
In making its legislative recommendations, the Commission has not proposed explicit statutory language. Similarly, in recommendations to administrative agencies and to private parties it has proposed specific approaches rather than the language of a regulation.
A number of more specialized issues were raised in testimony and statements to the Commission that it has not had the time nor specialized information to consider fully. These are significant issues to the workers and managers involved and deserve more detailed attention and conclusions than the Commission has had the time or resources to provide. Among these questions are the status of agricultural workers under the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, and the system of labor-management relations in the building and construction industry under these statutes and subsequent NLRB and court decisions. Further, the Commission has considered only in Section VII some of the issues raised by worker-management relations in a few types of relationships among those popularly designated as contingent. The Commission reports this unfinished business that deserves further and ongoing consideration.
The Commission has sought the views of a wide range of employers and employer associations, representatives of unions, professional associations, women's groups, civil rights organizations and academics regarding how to deal with the problems and challenges of the modern workplace. In addition, the Commission believes it is also significant to hear how workers themselves and their supervisors view their workplace beyond the reports of their attitudes from managers or unions. Thus, the Commission welcomes the findings of the Worker Representation and Participation Survey. This survey provides a detailed and indepth analysis of workplace practices and the attitudes and views in workplaces on many issues pertinent to the Commission~s charges. Appendix A presents a brief summary of the survey procedures and highlights of its findings.
The Department of Commerce provided assistance to the Commission through Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Everett Ehrlich. Within the Department of Labor, Roland Droitsch, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy and Budget, coordinated a portion of the Commission~s work. Assistance was also provided by Seth Harris, Executive Director of the Department~s Enforcement Council, on matters related to this area. Legal research support was given to the Commission by Andrew Levin and Janet Herold. The Commission received comprehensive administrative and related support from staff of the Office of Small Business and Minority Affairs. Ms. Artrella Mack and Mrs. Betty Cooper- Gibson provided effective service in the technical preparation of this report. The Commission is deeply appreciative.