Labor-Management Cooperation: Bath Iron Works's Bold New Approach

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Maine Law Review, ISSN: 0025-0651, Vol: 47, Issue: 2, Page: 415

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Goldin, Jonathan B., University of Maine School of Law
bath iron works; biw; labor management; nlra; national labor relations act; unions; labor law; Labor and Employment Law
commentary description
An increasing number of employers and unions have found that the best way to compete in the marketplace and secure both profits for the firm and good jobs for workers is through cooperative worker-management relations. As Americans obtain more education, and with the changing nature of some work, employers increasingly find it appropriate to rearrange responsibilities and tasks to employees, who work sometimes as teams and other times as individuals. For their part, more highly educated employees express greater desire to participate in workplace decisions and have the knowledge and competence to undertake more tasks at the workplace. It is clearer now than in the past that creating value at the workplace is the joint responsibility of management and labor. To compete in the world market, Bath Iron Works must change. We must expand our vision to look at the big picture, instead of focusing on just a small piece of the world. In order to achieve the significant improvements necessary to better our performance on naval contracts, as well as enable us to enter into the commercial/industrial market, we must develop a rational plan that allows us to be the most efficient and competitive manufacturing organization in the world.