• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Employment is closely connected to wealth, status, and security and is therefore a subject of interest across a range of academic disciplines. Employment Relations in the United States incorporates a wealth of research material from these different specialties to provide a historical perspective on the American workplace and the evolution of legal policies affecting employment. The analysis follows both a chronological and thematic arrangement, beginning with the importance of management practices, the growth of labor organizations and the impact of collective bargaining on employment institutions, and the subsequent rise of individual employment rights enforced through administrative and judicial means. Through its evolutionary approach, the book explains the fragmented, overlapping, and conceptually confusing regulatory environment governing workplace relations. It offers an integrated approach to such important contemporary policy issues as health care coverage, pensions, and effective dispute procedures. The book provides an analytical framework for an understanding of the unique nature of our labor markets and the role of government, employers, and unions.   Key Features    Provides students with the historical background they need to understand how the U.S. system developed and how it differs from systems in other industrialized nations  Discusses individual employment rights, including protection from discrimination  Covers current policy issues in employment, including raising the minimum wage, the growth of a contingent workforce, and privatizing retirement  Offers a unique historical and evolutionary explanation of the nature of employment relations   As a general overview of contemporary employment relations, Employment Relations in the United States is a perfect supplement to college courses in employment law, human resource management, and collective bargaining. Human resource managers, mediators, and professionals involved in labor relations will also find this an essential reference.

Industrial Expansion and the Foundations of Unionism
Industrial expansion and the foundations of unionism

The labor problem was particularly acute in the early development of U.S. employment relations. To reiterate a point made in the previous chapter, employers devised creative responses to market conditions. One strategy was the complex, elaborate, and controversial system of slavery, with its highly nuanced legal and social apparatus. The second relied on the contractual bondage associated with indentured servitude. Until the mid-nineteenth century, those two forms of involuntary or “unfree” labor coexisted along with the voluntary employment contracts negotiated in open markets. The dissolution of relations of status—that is, of obligations imposed by state definition rather than by consent—eventually gave way to contractual rights and duties. Gradually, after slavery was abolished, ...

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