Labor Relations:
Striking a Balance,
3rd ed.

John W. Budd
McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2010

ISBN 0073530336

Winner (1st ed.) -- 2005 "Texty" Textbook Excellence Award !

Cover 3/e Cover 2/e
Cover 1/e
Click here for the marketing flyer
Go to the McGraw-Hill/Irwin catalog page
Go to the text's accompanying website (
Request a Review/Desk Copy
Available at:
Powell's Books

An award-winning labor relations textbook for undergraduates and graduates...

This textbook presents labor relations as a system for striking a balance between the employment relationship goals of efficiency, equity, and voice, and between the rights of labor and management. It is important to examine these goals to discover what motivates contemporary U.S. labor relations processes, and to evaluate whether these processes remain effective in the 21st century. What are the differing assumptions (such as whether labor markets are competitive) that underlie alternative mechanisms for achieving efficiency, equity, and voice? Why is a balance important? These questions provide the framework for analyzing the existing processes-especially organizing, bargaining, dispute resolution, and contract administration-as well as the major issues facing these processes-particularly, the need for workplace flexibility, employee empowerment, and labor-management partnerships in the context of globalization. Another recurring theme is that the current processes are one option for balancing workplace objectives and rights, but that this system is under fire from many directions. The book therefore concludes with chapters to promote reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and the possibilities for reform. This material includes a comparative examination of labor relations systems from other countries and a consideration of varied U.S. reform proposals that include changes in union and corporate behavior as well as public policies.


  • The text has been streamlined to improve student accessibility. Overall, the text is reduced from 14 chapters to 13, many of the chapters are shorter, and the more advanced topics have been moved to optional "Digging Deeper" features at the end of the relevant chapters.

  • Updated discussion of important public policy topics, especially the Employee Free Choice Act, debates over NLRB decisions on company email policies and supervisors, prospects for reversals of Bush-era legal rulings under the Obama administration, the transfer of retiree benefits from the Big Three automakers to the UAW, and the possibility of a reunification between the AFL-CIO and Change to Win.

  • Increased coverage of labor-management partnerships and numerous other contemporary updates have been added throughout the text.


    Part I: Foundations

    Chapter 1: Contemporary Labor Relations: Objectives, Practices, and Challenges

    Chapter 2: Labor Unions: Good or Bad?

    Part II: The U.S. New Deal Industrial Relations System

    Chapter 3: Historical Development

    Chapter 4: Labor Law

    Chapter 5: Labor and Management: Strategies, Structures, and Constraints

    Chapter 6: Union Organizing

    Chapter 7: Bargaining

    Chapter 8: Impasse, Strikes, and Dispute Resolution

    Chapter 9 Contract Clauses and Their Administration

    Part III: Issues for the 21st Century

    Chapter 10: Flexibility, Empowerment, and Partnership

    Chapter 11: Globalization

    Part IV: Reflection

    Chapter 12: Comparative Labor Relations

    Chapter 13: What Should Labor Relations Do?


    The National Labor Relations Act
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    A Sample NLRB Decision
    Collective Bargaining Simulation: The Zinnia and Service Workers Local H-56


  • Extensive supporting pedagogical materials, including labor law and grievance discussion cases (with extensive teaching notes) plus an accompanying bargaining simulation for students to experience the collective bargaining process by renegotiating a hotel's union contract. The simulation is structured around websites for the hotel and the union at

  • A rich intellectual framework for understanding both the current labor relations system and possible alternatives. This framework focuses on three conceptual elements: the objectives of the employment relationship (efficiency, equity, and voice), the objectives of labor relations (striking a balance), and differing views of labor markets and conflict.

  • Comprehensive, even-handed coverage of the New Deal industrial relations system-including history, law, and all of the major labor relations processes-as well as current issues (workplace flexibility, employee empowerment, labor-management partnerships, and globalization) and multiple alternative directions for union strategies, corporate behavior, and labor law. Engaging historical and contemporary examples are used to illustrate many issues. These examples are drawn from a wide variety of industries, occupations, and demographic groups.

  • Discussion of whether workers' rights are human rights. Moreover, the clash between property rights and labor rights is highlighted as a central conflict in labor relations. This theme is used to increase the understanding of the legal doctrines that underlie the labor relations processes by seeking to balance these competing rights.

  • A serious treatment of ethics integrated throughout the text. Unlike any other labor relations textbook, major ethical theories and principles are discussed (chapter 5). Many chapters ask students to apply these principles to important labor relations issues.

  • Contemporary management and union strategic issues integrated throughout the text, including integrative bargaining, workplace flexibility, work teams, reengineering, leadership, change management, the organizing model of union representation, and social movement unionism.

  • Separate chapters on globalization and comparative labor relations systems. The comparative chapter discusses labor relations in representative industrialized countries (Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, and Japan) as well as in Mexico, Eastern Europe, and Asian developing countries and the debate over convergence of policies and practices. The globalization chapter is unique among labor relations textbooks and explores the pros and cons of globalization, debates over free or fair trade, the use of corporate codes of conduct and the International Labor Organization to promote workers' rights, transnational union collaboration, and issues for international managers.

  • Issues specific to public sector labor relations integrated throughout the text rather than relegated to a special topics chapter.

  • Explicit discussions of four schools of thought on the employment relationship- mainstream economics, human resource management, pluralist industrial relations, and critical industrial relations-and the importance of these different perspectives in understanding conflicting views of labor unions and labor policies.

  • Inclusion of diverse scholarship on labor relations incorporated throughout the text to promote a broad understanding of the subject, and to create an engaging, interesting book for the reader that draws on many disciplines and perspectives.

  • Appendices include the full text of the National Labor Relations Act, the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a sample NLRB decision.

    The updated 3rd edition is now available! To order your complimentary examination copy, simply ask your local McGraw-Hill/Irwin representative, call customer service at 1-800-338-3987, or follow this link.

    ISBN 0073530336
    2010 / Hardcover / 608 pages

    Click here for the marketing flyer
    Go to the McGraw-Hill/Irwin catalog page
    Go to the text's accompanying website (

    December 18, 2009
    Homepage icon Blog icon Twitter icon LinkedIn Icon