Vanderbilt Law Review


Journal Staff


In the midst of the industrial strife and upheaval of the 1930s, the United States Congress, with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), established the legal framework that regulates the rights and interests of both labor and management through an adversarial collective bargaining process.' As domestic businesses have expanded to serve a worldwide market, however, the modern labor-management relationship is experiencing intense pressure from foreign competition that is rattling the adversarial process' foundations. In an attempt to raise productivity and quality, many American businesses have participated in cooperative efforts with employees, focusing one employee participation in the traditionally management oriented decision making process. Labor unions, in order to attract additional employees and increase diminishing memberships, also have become more receptive to cooperative proposals. Many of these innovative labor-management cooperative ventures, designed to bolster the marketability of United States companies, have created labor-management relationships that were not envisioned by the drafters of the NLRA, and,indeed, some of which do not fit within the current labor law scheme at all. This potential conflict between cooperative efforts and modern labor policy has provoked a study by the United States Department of Labor to assess whether the current legal framework is adequate to meet the needs of our evolving domestic enterprises.