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Workers, Collectivism and the Law
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Workers, Collectivism and the Law

Grappling with Democracy

9781788112444 Edward Elgar Publishing
Laura Carlson, School of Law, Stockholm University, Sweden
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78811 244 4 Extent: 328 pp
Workers, Collectivism and the Law offers a captivating historical account of worker democracy, from its beginnings in European guild systems to present-day labor unions, across the national legal systems of Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Analysing these legal systems in light of a Habermasian concept of participatory democracy, Laura Carlson identifies ways to strengthen individual employee voice in claims against employers.

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Workers, Collectivism and the Law offers a captivating historical account of worker democracy, from its beginnings in European guild systems to present-day labor unions, across the national legal systems of Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Analysing these legal systems in light of a Habermasian concept of participatory democracy, Laura Carlson identifies ways to strengthen individual employee voice in claims against employers.

Carlson highlights how employee voice and democracy, both collective and individual, assume different guises in each of these four labor law models. By tracing voice and democracy as components in the history of collective worker organizations, from guilds to journeymen associations to modern labor unions, Carlson demonstrates how history has shaped today’s national labor law models.

In the context of modern labor law’s central focus on human rights, Carlson articulates the need for stronger legal defence of mechanisms of transparency and procedural due process, to enhance voice and democracy for union members in invoking rights and asserting protections for workers.

This insightful book is indispensable reading for labor law academics and for those practicing in employment law, while those interested in the history of labor law will revel in its penetrating survey of the materials.
Critical Acclaim
‘The author assembles a mass of different materials and the outcome is undoubtedly a very valuable tool both for scholarly debate and for the purposes of higher education in that I am sure that it would be beneficial to the students taking a course on comparative industrial relations.’
– Marco Biasi, European Journal of Social Security

‘Professor Laura Carlson, with multi-national legal experience, is an ideal scholar to explore how the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, and the US have provided diverse legal structures and mechanisms for individual and collective employee voice in the workplace. The book offers well-researched legal and historical background and insightful analysis and comparison of the countries’ unique approaches.’
– Laura J. Cooper, University of Minnesota Law School, US and Co-Editor, ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law

‘Against a rich historical canvas, Carlson explores procedural democracy involving individual and collective labour claims in Germany, Sweden, the UK and the US. Pointing to the common trends and unique features of these systems, this informative book is a useful contribution to the literature on employee voice.’
– Anne Trebilcock, associated with the Institut für Arbeitsrecht, Georg-August University, Göttingen, German

‘In this important work, Laura Carlson explores the intersections between law, democracy and collective voice from a comparative perspective. It blends historical sensitivity and theoretical sophistication to produce a work of real scholarly importance. Given the rise of nationalism, authoritarianism and growing social and economic inequalities across Europe, its publication could not be more timely. It deserves to be widely read.’
– Alan Bogg, University of Bristol Law School, UK
Contents
Contents: Introduction to Workers, Collectivism and the Law Part I Workers, collectivism and the law historically 1. Guilds: Brother[sister]hood, friendship and mutual aid 2. The golden age of the English guilds 3. The rise of labor in England 4. Labor in Germany: Rapid transformations 5. Labor in Sweden: Seamless transitions 6. Labor in the United States: The Court is King 7. International influences and congruences Part II The Modern National Labor Law Models 8. Employee voice in the United Kingdom 9. Employee voice in Germany: Dual channels 10. Employee voice in Sweden 11. Employee voice in the United States 12. Voice, democracy, and collectivism in the different systems Bibliography Index

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