Thursday, June 01, 2006

Webcasts of Hiatt and Getman Lectures

Back in November, I mentioned in a post that Jonathan Hiatt (pictured left) and Julius Getman were giving separate lectures on labor law. Webcasts of both lectures are now available online.

Hiatt's speech is particularly interesting. He notes that we live in a culture that values individual rights (e.g., the rights protected by Title VII, ADEA, FLSA) and marginalizes collective rights (e.g., the rights protected by the NLRA). Hiatt argues that citizens who value individual rights should care about collective rights because employees who pool their resources and speak with one voice are better equipped to enforce statutorily protected individual rights. Hiatt is quick to point out that collective bargaining is not merely a good mechanism for enforcing individual rights. Through collective bargaining, employees can protect themselves against arbitrary employer action that no law prohibits. Hiatt argues that collective bargaining increases employees’ bargaining power, which can help them to improve their wages and benefits, and provides a voice for employees who wish to give input to their employers on matters of common interest.

The Decline of Labor Unions: Is Labor Law to Blame?

Collective Rights in the Workplace Within a Culture of Individual Rights (Hiatt really starts his lecture at about the 10:30 mark.)