April 2012 Archives

As an author of a comprehensive labor relations textbook (Labor Relations: Striking a Balance, McGraw-Hill), I was recently asked to provide some general advice for future human resources and labor relations managers. Issues within the labor relations arena can often be laden with highly-charged and volatile emotions. For complex reasons, the mere mention of labor unions can raise passions, if not outright hostility, among business leaders and others to a much greater extent than many other business and economic issues. Managers should avoid these traps, and instead approach issues in labor relations in a level-headed and respectful manner.

As the Supreme Court wrestles with the future of U.S. social programs, it seems appropriate to recognize Frances Perkins on her birthday. Perkins was a tireless advocate for workers and their families. She was the first woman to ever hold a U.S. cabinet position, and as Secretary of Labor during the Great Depression she was the driving force behind federal legislation creating social security, unemployment insurance programs, a federal national minimum wage, overtime premiums, and protections for child workers.

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About this Blog

Whither Work? is a blog about work created by John Budd. I am a professor of Work and Organizations in the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, and the author of several books including The Thought of Work. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWBudd.