A State within a State: Industrial Relations in Israel, 1965-1987

By Ran Chermesh | Go to book overview

4
Strike Management: Norm and Practice

Introduction

We can envision two extreme models of strike regulation. On the one hand a state of laissez-faire, in which any organization of workers can start a strike with no external constraints imposed. The industrial relations arena is a stage for a power game between managements and unions. On the other hand, society may limit the degrees of freedom available to the union to such an extent that its mere existence, not to say operations, becomes problematic. Pure power is the name of the game in the first extreme, while indisputable managerial authority is the source of order in the second. No democratic society can resort to either of the two extremes.

Even a superficial visit to the U.S.A. can provide evidence for the assertion that it tends toward the first model. I can demonstrate my assertion with the following short example: On the door to a supermarket called "Ralph's" this announcement was posted sometime around the end of October 1988:

Because of the probability of a labor dispute in the near future
RALPH'S
Is now accepting applications for temporary employment as:
truck drivers/general warehouse personnel/office clerical
meat cutters/meat wrappers/seafood clerks
bakery plant workers
supermarket clerks & cashiers
automotive workers/maintenance engineers
Applications are available thru the store director

This announcement tells a very clear story. Ralph's was engaged in contract negotiations with a union, which represented its employees. Management came to the conclusion that the disparity of views between it and the workers' representatives was too wide to be solved without the use of power. In a war, act like you're in a war. By issuing this announcement the management gained both a viable option to continue and run its stores in the event of a

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