Labor Problems: Cases and Readings

Labor Problems: Cases and Readings

Labor Problems: Cases and Readings

Labor Problems: Cases and Readings

Excerpt

This book has two purposes: to make teaching more exciting for the teacher and to make learning more exciting for the student. We believe that these purposes are best achieved through intimate familiarity with the writings of many different authors and with descriptions of actual cases from the field. The book is a result of our personal search for the kinds of teaching materials in the labor relations and labor economics fields that would bring into the classroom a feel for the complexities of problems on which we all bold strong opinions. Some four years ago, we were asked to develop first a one-term and then a two-term undergraduate course covering these broad areas. The basic orientation was that of economists working toward a course of applied social science. Our experience was probably typical. We started out with a basic text, supplemented by a few reprints of favorite articles put on reserve in the library. As time went on, our list of supplementary materials grew larger and larger. Before long, we were assigning as much reading from "outside" sources as we were from the text.

Our problem would not have been too difficult if our supplementary materials had been primarily of one type. But we found our most exciting and satisfactory results were obtained when we used a variety of teaching aids. Articles expressing an important point of view or the general statements of a problem advanced by leading practitioners or scholars proved most helpful when accompanied by case material. It is important, we found, to talk in specific terms about why workers joined a union in a particular situation before talking in general terms about the forces which explain the growth of the American labor movement. We found that our class discussions of supply and demand conditions for labor were most satisfactory after analysis of research results from one of the many published studies of worker behavior in a local labor market. And general public policy prescriptions, as the law schools found some time ago, are most meaningful when cast in the light of a difficult case at law.

Our need, then, was not for a book of readings, nor for a set of cases on . . .

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