Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-20-1955


The problem of industry-wide bargaining has only recently assumed sizeable proportions in the field of labor-management relations. It is the result of evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes in the industrial relations scene. An historical basis; for industry-wide bargaining can be found in the very beginnings of collective bargaining in the United States. As the business enterprise increased in size and scope of operations so the trade unions followed this development. The labor movement's goal of union security forces unions to control job opportunities and standardize wages and other conditions of work at the competitive product market level. With the growth of trade unionism in the 1930’s, the unions were able to devote their full energies to the realization of the above goal. In view of the emphasis on uniformity, which is characteristic of industry-wide bargaining, there is danger that the local firm will loose its identity and the local union will become only an administrative arm of the national union. Industry-wide patterns must be adapted to the local level because the average industry is made up of heterogeneous rather than completely homogeneous firms. In the industrial structure, the firm is the primary socio-democratic unit; the industry depends on the firm for its life. Industry-wide bargaining is not a policy formulating device. A tripartite organization should be set-up to formulate a framework within which industry-wide negotiations may be successfully carried on. This authority should stand between the government and the public. Such an organization may not be legislated into existence; rather it is the result of education and experience.