Labor Low

Increased Opportunity Through Deregulation Lindsey, Lawrence B. - Fall 1994

At a housing conference in Detroit, October 29, 1994, Federal Reserve Board Governor Lawrence B. Lindsey delivered an insightful speech arguing that repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act and other government deregulations would do more for inner city development than the Clinton administration's proposal to reform the Community Reinvestment Act. "Increased Opportunity Through Deregulation" presents an edited version of his text.

The Dunlop Commission Report: Friends of Unions Baird, Charles W.

One of the first orders of business that President Clinton addressed upon taking office in 1993, was how to repay organized labor for its support during his election. Among other things, he appointed the first of three commissions charged with finding the best means for revising the nation's labor laws as they apply to private and public sector workers, to favor organized labor. The Commission on the Future of Worker/Management Relations, known as the Dunlop Commission, held its first meeting in April 1993.

One need look no further than the composition of the commission, chaired by former U.S. labor Secretary John Dunlop, who resigned his post in the Ford administration because the president opposed union-favored common situs picketing, to note its union bias. Other members of the panel include President Carter's Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, three pro-union labor economists and William Gould, who now chairs the National Labor Relations Board and has written extensively about his support of organized labor's agenda.

Implicit in the formation of this commission is the Clinton administration's assertion that, during the 1980s, Republican presidents encouraged union-management friction. The commission held meetings for a year and, in May 1994, released a preliminary report on its finding. It sought and received a six-month extension in order to complete its work but has since been forced to seek another, delaying until May 1995 publication of its final report. In "The Dunlop Commission Report: Friends of Unions," Dr. Charles W. Baird offers an analysis of the commission's preliminary report and insight into what its ultimate recommendations will be.

Agency Problems in Public Sector Labor Relations Conant, John L.

In "Agency Problems in Public Sector labor Relations," John L. Conant examines government unionism from the perspective of agency theory. He observes that, in essence, workers "hire" unions while citizens "hire" politicians to act as their agents and give them significant managerial discretion to pursue their own subjective agendas. Consequently, economic inefficiency in the public sector often occurs when union officers manage to "capture" public officials as their own agents.

Conant reviews the mechanism that makes private sector corporate managers effective agents of the stockholders and the control devices within the public sector that create significant agency problems. He discusses the mechanisms that enable union agents to "capture" public managers as their own agents and proposes alternatives in the form of property rights and contractual provisions for correcting the situation. It is his hope that such alternatives will help provide public officials with the incentives some may require in order to act in the best interests of the people that they are elected to represent.