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William B. Gould

William B. Gould IV is Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law, Emeritus at Stanford University and William M. Ramsey Distinguished Professor of Law at Willamette University College of Law. He is the author of Agenda for Reform (MIT Press, 1993) and A Primer on American Labor Law (MIT Press, 1993). The recipient of five honorary doctorate degrees, he has been an impartial arbitrator since 1965 and a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators since 1970.

Titles by This Author

A Primer on American Labor Law is an accessible guide written for nonspecialists—labor and management representatives, students, general practice lawyers, and trade unionists, government officials, and academics from other countries. It covers such topics as the National Labor Relations Act, unfair labor practices, the collective bargaining relationship, dispute resolution, the public sector, and public-interest labor law. This thoroughly updated fourth edition contains extensive new material, covering developments in the eleven years since the third edition, including the continuing decline in union membership, job security rights, wrongful discharge litigation and dispute resolution procedures, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) litigation, cases involving sexual harassment and sexual orientation, the most recent collective bargaining agreements in professional sports, and the debate—spurred by globalism—on international labor standards. Much of the discussion of the National Labor Relations Act discusses decisions and policy changes by the National Labor Relations Board during the author's chairmanship in 1994-1998.

Law, Politics, and the NLRB--A Memoir

"This book is about the relationship between law, a quasi-judicial administrative agency, and politics, in the volatile arena of labor policy and the balance of power between labor and management.... It is about the rule of law and the role of labor law in a modern economy."
from the Introduction

From 1994 to 1998, William B. Gould IV served as Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. One of only three NLRB Chairmen to come from an academic background, he quickly realized that he was an outsider in a very political world. In this compelling memoir, Gould describes the tribulations of trying to assure impartial administration of federal labor laws while faced with a hostile, Republican Congress. He describes his difficult confirmation process and wrenching Congressional hearings, particularly the one over Proposition 226, a ballot initiative that required unions to get explicit authorization from all represented workers prior to expending dues for political purposes. He tells how the behavior of both Board members and members of Congress, guided by self-interest and rigid ideology, contributed to the Board's problems. He also recounts the positive strides the NLRB made during his tenure, despite the turmoil. The book provides an insider's view of what goes on behind the closed doors in our nation's capital, including discussions with members of Congress, the White House, and President Bill Clinton.

The Future of Employment Relationships and the Law

For years William Gould has argued for labor law reform that would facilitate trade union organization and collective bargaining. In the face of increased erosion in worker protection and weakening of the collective bargaining process, Gould proposes an agenda of reforms to balance the interests of management and workers, and to protect employee participation and job security. He evaluates such factors as the possible repeal or reform of the NLRA, the possible increase in worker participation plans, the change in the use of the strike weapon, wrongful discharge law, the protections afforded nonunion employees, and race relations as factors that will affect the future of the labor management relationship and, consequently, the future of industrial relations.

 

This pioneering comparative study of Japanese and American labor law reveals a labor-relations system superficially resembling our own but shaped by an entirely different culture, and with a marked impact on Japan's economic success.

Among Gould's findings are that the Japanese have adopted American labor law so as to create a relationship between labor and management that is lasting, harmonious, and productive; their system for dealing with job security and unfair labor practices is less confrontational than ours, their law more neutral - and it is easier in Japan for companies to share strategic information with their employees. Gould makes a number of recommendations for change in US labor law while noting that Japan also has problems and its mechanisms for dealing with conflict share many snags with their American counterparts.