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Unions

March 20, 1994

The Op-Ed piece by Harry Bernstein titled "Workplace Totalitarianism Takes a Hit" (Column Left, March 13) shows us once and for all the reactionary nature of recent unionism in America. Not only was labor unwilling to accept sharing of decision-making but it was unwilling to face the reality of international competition and the drastic changes it brought into play. Little wonder that labor union membership is now under 20% in this country.

Not that labor's partnership in management decisions solves the real problem. (Witness current difficulties in Western Europe.) Perhaps the most promising trend in the U.S. has to do with employee ownership, not just decision-sharing. That is already happening at companies like Avis and United Airlines. But why can't the employees use the money in their retirement funds to acquire control of the corporations where they work? After all, a 10% ownership of the stock can often give you control of the whole show. But that would surely spell the end of unions.

IRWIN GROSSMAN, Los Angeles

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