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“All Deals are Off”: The Dunlop Commission and Employer Opposition to Labor Law Reform

Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations

ISBN: 978-1-78190-377-3, eISBN: 978-1-78190-378-0

Publication date: 22 November 2012


This chapter examines the rise and fall of the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations (Dunlop Commission) in the early 1990s. It uses the events surrounding the Commission to provide an insight into the dynamics of the struggle over federal labor law reform. The inability of the Dunlop Commission to get labor and management representatives to agree on proposals for labor law reform demonstrated, yet again, that employer opposition is the greatest obstacle to the protection of organizing rights and modernization of labor law. For the nation's major management associations, labor law reform is a life and death issue, and nothing is more important to them than defeating revisions to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) intended to strengthen organizing rights. The failure of labor law reform in the 1990s also demonstrated that the labor movement would never win reform by means of an “inside the beltway” legislative campaign – designed to push reform through the US Senate – because the principal employer organizations would always exercise more influence in Congress. Instead, unions must engage with public opinion, and convince union and nonunion members about the importance of reform. Thus far, however, they lack an effective language with which to do this.



Logan, J. (2012), "“All Deals are Off”: The Dunlop Commission and Employer Opposition to Labor Law Reform", Lewin, D. and Gollan, P.J. (Ed.) Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations (Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 189-218.



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