MANAGEMENT: Workers on the Board

By instinct and tradition, U.S. labor unions have been content to leave the actual running of companies to management, preferring to stress the bread-and-butter issues of wages, hours and working conditions. But in Europe, worker participation in management decision making is an established idea that keeps spreading continually into more countries and industries. The practice, known in German as Mitbestimmung (literally, having a voice in), took root shortly after World War II in West Germany, where coal miners and steel workers began sitting alongside bosses on industry supervisory boards. In recent years, the notion of giving workers a greater say...