While our adversarial free (meaning minimal governmental interference) collective bargaining has been praised as a positive attribute of our labor‐management relations, it is hardly free and probably no longer even a positive attribute. This paper examines the process and explains how it has become limited to the point where the most crucial employment issues often no longer need to be bargained at all. Though the purpose of our labor laws was to resolve industrial strife through collective bargaining by balancing the power between employers and unions, our contemporary system can now often be characterized as limited, imbalanced, adversarial gamesmanship. Current research demonstrates the need for a more open and expanded bargaining agenda to meet the needs of both the changed workplace and the changed marketplace of today ‐ something the present process seems incapable of doing. Specific recommendations are offered to both management and labor which are derived from recent research.
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