GERMANY: Mitbestimmungsrecht Wins

A cardinal goal of German organized labor is Mitbestimmungsrecht. Literally, it means "the right of codetermination"; it implies union participation in corporate financing, pricing, supply and all other functions of management. (Some observers have seen Mitbestimmungsrecht in Walter Reuther's pronunciamentos on U.S. industry.)

When the Allies, in 1947, set up temporary trusteeships to supplant the Ruhr industrial cartels, they accepted Mitbestimmungsrecht. Labor representatives were given equal positions with management on each of 24 new company trustee boards. Later, all three of Western Germany's big political parties supported some form of Mitbestimmungsrecht, to keep their labor support.

Faced with the imminent...

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