A Way to Balance Big Labor's Power

As the United Auto Workers aggressively presented their new wage demands to Ford and Chrysler last week, Detroit's worried automakers got some sound advice from Harvard University. Said Economist Sumner Slichter: "The auto companies would be wise to maintain a united front that would sooner or later lead to industry-wide bargaining."

Slichter touched a major problem for dozens of U.S. industries: they must either stand together or risk being whipsawed by unions. In many cases labor and management no longer sit as equals at the bargaining table. While...

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