Collective Bargaining in Small Firms: Preliminary Evidence of Fundamental Change

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Patrick McHugh, Donald Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This analysis of 481 negotiations in Michigan over the period 1987-91 suggests that fundamental changes may have occurred recently in collective bargaining in small firms. Only 33% of the negotiations conformed to the traditional model of arm's-length collective bargaining; the balance involved either highly contentious or highly cooperative relations. Further, in only one-sixth (17%) of the cases was the contract settled within one week before or after the contract expiration. Delays were more common and longer in negotiations in which settlements were implemented unilaterally by management over labor's objections than in cases involving strikes. Concessions figured prominently in the majority of the negotiations in the sample, with a shift from wage to benefit concessions occurring during the period examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-212
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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