As the United States continues to transition from a manufacturing to a post-industrial service-oriented economy that is directly affected by global competition, the strength of domestic labor organizations has declined and private sector union membership has fallen to below 8 percent. Most unions continue to behave like the craft and industrial organizations of the mid-1900s. They employ appeals that once worked well for blue collar manufacturing workers to appeal to new-age white collar and service personnel who view traditional unionization as working class. If labor organizations hope to appeal to twenty-first century employees, they must devise strategies that will resonate with persons who view themselves as professionals. They need to devise organizing goals that reflect their hopes and aspirations. They need to focus on such issues as professional development and salary inequities between top management and regular workers. The National Labor Relations Act has become more and more irrelevant, since many professional workers are now excluded from coverage as supervisors, even if they only marginally direct the work of others, or managerials even though they exercise no meaningful control over their basic employment conditions. If the NLRA is to have continuing relevance, it must be amended to extend coverage to new-age workers - most of whom have indicated that they would like to have some form of collective voice vis-a-vis their corporate employers.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 300; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 300
Charles B. Craver, The Relevance of the NLRA and Labor Organizations in the Post-Industrial Global Economy, 57 Lab. L. J. 133 (2006).