David Bacon looks at the institutional and cultural forces behind the fight against labor studies:

The era of enlightened corporate self-interest is long gone, however, if indeed it ever existed. For more than two decades the country’s largest corporations have busted unions as a normal part of business activity, and have lost whatever interest they had in labor-management cooperation. It should be no surprise, then, that the end of union acceptance in the workplace should bring with it an end to the prestige of labor-management cooperation in academia. If employers don’t want it, who does?

As Bacon argues:

The controversy raises a fundamental question about labor rights–should joining a union be protected and encouraged by law and public policy, or are unions just a narrow private interest?

On this question, too many self-identified liberals – writing the labor movement out of its role in every social reform for which they credit enlightened governments – are on the wrong side.


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