Airline Negotiations and the New Concessionary Bargaining

Source: Gary Chaison
Journal of Labor Research
Fall 2007

The author asks whether the highly confrontational collective bargaining in the airlines is uniques to that industry or a sign of a deepening crisis in union-management relations nationally. First, airline labor relations are reviewed in the context of extremely contentious negotiations, intense industry competition, complex and fragmented bargaining structures, frequent bankruptcies, and unpredictable external shocks. Next, concessionary bargaining in the airlines is discussed, and a new and extreme form of concessionary bargaining is identified. The emergence of the new concessionary bargaining in the airlines and its spread to the automobile sector is then interpreted as the early signs of a fundamental transformation of collective bargaining. The implications of the new concessionary bargaining are then described at the workplace, company, union and societal levels.

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