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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003




Wayne University Law School




This paper, prepared for "The Future of Organized Labor in America" symposium at Wayne State University Law School, examines two questions: 1) what are the implications of the decline of unions for the future of labor law, and 2) what are the implications of labor law for the decline of unions? After documenting the recent trends (decline in the private sector coupled with slight growth in the public sector), I argue that the change in the public-versus-private composition will lead unions to pursue legislative strategies that will further reduce the share of the private sector workforce in unions. A law reform program that has any chance of success in reversing the decline of private-sector unions will have to aim to reduce the competitive disadvantage to firms from unionization. I offer two general proposals in this vein: 1) making labor law more predictable and 2) removing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) from regulating the substantive terms of labor contracts.


Updated with published version of paper on 2/23/22

Working paper available on SSRN

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Working paper available on SSRN

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