Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1982

Abstract

This article ventures into, and attempts to clarify, the context that affects and is affected by the law regulating union government. Drawing extensively from disciplines other than law, it posits a unified role for this body of law by focusing on unions' assigned societal functions and the realities of their structure and government. Part II traces the context in which the law regulating union government develops. It first describes the dual governments unions administer, and the competing interests within each that law must accommodate. It then suggests possible causes of the doctrinal fragmentation observed in the law regulating union government, and shows how uncertainty regarding the definition of union democracy, its possibility and desirability, and the necessity of public intervention to attain it can contribute to doctrinal fragmentation. Seeking to resolve these uncertainties, the article, in parts III and IV, analyzes unions' assigned societal functions and their governing structures, because in part V union function and structure are shown to condition significantly the preferred definition of union democracy, its possibility and desirability, and the necessity of public regulation to attain it. The article concludes by advancing a preferred model of union democracy-one that is possible and would not frustrate unions' fulfilling assigned societal functions-and by suggesting a unified role for law and legal institutions attempting to preserve and promote such democracy.

In short, this article describes the framework of democracy in union government from a policy-oriented perspective. It offers the contesting parties, decisionmakers, and other interested persons a tool for analysis rather than a calculus for exact answers. The descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive functions of legal analysis can then proceed in a more orderly manner.

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