Collective bargaining as a human and labour right

Source: Roy J. Adams, Economic & Labour Relations Review, Volume 22, Issue 2, July 2011
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Throughout the English-speaking world, collective bargaining has commonly been considered to be an option for workers discontent with the default system of management-determined conditions of work. In this article it is argued that, as a universally acclaimed human right, collective bargaining should be considered a minimum condition for everyone employed under standardised conditions of work. The government policy of offering workers a choice to bargain or to refrain from bargaining, in effect in countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, does not meet that standard. Just as the equity goal of governments is the absence of inequality based on traits such as sex and colour, the government bargaining policy goal should be universal collective bargaining. Anything short of universality should be considered a social problem in search of a more effective policy solution.

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