Collective Bargaining and Inflation

by Lloyd Ulman



This article discusses measures to curb inflation. The author is of the views that decentralization of collective-bargaining powers of trade unions is not the way to curb inflation. Neither is public-policy restraints on money demand. There has been a difference of opinion among economists, perhaps only among economists, as to whether the negotiation of wages under collective agreements covering slightly over one-third of the nation's non-agricultural employees has constituted one of the forces contributing independently to the upward movement in prices in the period following the end of World War II. Attempts to test this hypothesis have thus far failed to uncover any single satisfactory yardstick. Comparisons between union and nonunion wage movements, comparisons of movement in wages, prices, productivity, and unit labor costs, the presence !or absence of reported shortages of labor, of wage "glides" or "slides" above contractual rates, or of a high degree of unemployment-each has failed.

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