Katherine Van Wezel Stone

Recent Articles

The Feeble Strength of One

Suing the boss seems smart, but the company has home-court advantage.

T he labor policy of the reagan-Bush era presents a paradox. On the one hand, it was an era of pure and simple anti-unionism, which began with President Reagan's dismissal of the air traffic controllers and ended with President Bush's promise to veto the striker-replacement bill before Congress. In that 12-year period, conservative federal courts and a conservative National Labor Relations Board effectively dismantled the New Deal collective bargaining system by reversing many of the legal doctrines that had empowered organized labor. Indeed, one could fairly characterize the 1980s and early 1990s as one of the most anti-labor periods in American history. Yet while the collective bargaining system was being dismantled, workers were being granted individual rights to an unprecedented degree, usually by state legislatures and courts. These included the right not to be fired capriciously, not to be subject to drug or lie detector tests, not to be defamed in job references, to have one's...