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Fading Corporatism

Israel's Labor Law and Industrial Relations in Transition

Guy Mundlak

Publication Year: 2007

Since the 1980s, industrial relations and labor law in Israel have rapidly changed from a European style of corporatism to a model of pluralism familiar to North America. The country's legal and industrial relations systems have become more decentralized, yet more intensively regulated; they are no longer centrally managed, but they do not fit the neoliberal model of a free market. In recent years, a dynamic system for voicing interests has evolved, granting more leeway to individuals, identity-based representation, and a flourishing civil society, but restraining effective collective representation.

In Fading Corporatism, Guy Mundlak explains the changing nature of labor law and industrial relations in Israel and the seemingly paradoxical outcomes of transformation as played out in numerous spheres, including the law governing the recognition of trade unions and strikes; the emergence of a human rights regime; and the regulation of temporary work agencies, Palestinian workers from the occupied territories, and migrant workers. Placing the example of Israel in a conceptual framework that draws on the literature of corporatism, Mundlak offers a theoretical coupling of legal studies and industrial relations that will interest scholars and practitioners in both fields.

Surveying legal developments from 1920 to the present, Fading Corporatism will also appeal to readers interested in the political, economic, and legal history of Israel. At the same time, Mundlak emphasizes the comparative implications of the Israeli case study. His account is particularly instructive for countries in which traditionally corporatist industrial and legal systems are experiencing similar pressures, such as the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany.

Published by: Cornell University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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p. vii-vii

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pp. ix-xi

This book surveys Israeli labor law from 1920 to the present. The process of writing and publishing a book does not always conform to the pace of events, particularly when the subject matter is contemporary history. The book is therefore updated until the end of 2005. References to court cases and events that began before 2005 were updated at the end of ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book summarizes several years of writing and was intended to clarify how my previous works—on trade unions, strikes, social rights, juridification, social movements, and migrant workers—are all part of the same project. I hoped to summarize a decade of research. I was surprised to discover that it leaves me with more questions than answers. Through the years I have benefited immensely from the support of my ...

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pp. 1-10

Over the last decade Israeli labor law—and, more generally, social law—has changed dramatically. The changes are not easily viewed from the outside. The two laws governing collective labor relations—namely, the Collective Agreements Law (1957) and the Settlement of Industrial Disputes Law (1957)—have hardly been touched. A broad range of new laws has not seemed to alter the ...

Part I. Corporatism

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1. Corporatism

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pp. 13-33

The term “corporatism,” or “neocorporatism,” appears in the writings of various disciplines.1 It also seems to adopt various meanings with a core of shared meaning, although the various definitions may not be entirely congruent. Some definitions emphasize institutional factors such as centralized collective bargaining or high union density, while others emphasize governance based on social ...

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2. The Israeli Variant of Corporatism

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pp. 34-57

The study of Israeli law and industrial relations, which is presented in detail in the following chapters, advances the proposition that law and industrial relations were situated in a corporatist equilibrium, which gradually disintegrated, giving way to an emerging pluralist equilibrium. Labor law initially was designed to uphold, stabilize, and entrench the corporatist regime that developed ...

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Part II. Constructing Corporatist Labor Law, 1920–1987

On the basis of the questions presented at the end of the first chapter, part 2 describes the enabling legal conditions of the Israeli corporatist system and how they came about. It is difficult to establish the starting point for a study of corporatism and labor law in Israel. An evident starting point could be the foundation of the state in 1948. The theory of ...

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3. Legislating for Corporatism, 1920–1968

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pp. 61-88

This chapter focuses on the period of corporatist legislation in Israel. The discussion points out that while corporatism is based on autonomous norm making by the social partners with the state’s intervention (as a negotiating partner and not as a legislature), lawmaking need not necessarily be considered inimical to corporatism’s principle of autonomy. Legislative processes in the period ...

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4. Adjudication in the Service of Corporatism, 1969–1987

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pp. 89-109

In the first chapter I argued that the literature on corporatism in particular, and industrial relations in general, usually ignores the development of law, deeming the legal rule to be exogenous. Where there are exceptions, the study of legal developments is often focused on legislation. By contrast, adjudication is totally marginalized and receives hardly any attention. It may be ...

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Part III. Fading Corporatism

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pp. 111-117

Nothing dramatic happened in 1987. No economic or political revolution took place in Israel. The changing nature of industrial relations and labor in Israel is not part of anything like the Soviet perestroika but has been an incremental, albeit rapid, process of disintegration of the old order. As noted in chapter 2, this process can be traced to the political elections in 1977, in ...

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5. The Changing Metafunction of Labor Law

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pp. 119-152

Labor law’s metafunction determines which type of regulation prevails among competing state-level modes of regulation—market ordering (private contracts), state or transnational ordering (regulation), or autonomous lawmaking (most notably collective bargaining, but this can also include mandated employee participation schemes such as works councils; national, international ...

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6. The Juridification of the Employment Relationship

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pp. 153-187

The central characteristic of corporatist labor law was that it sought to develop regulation based on norms that do not directly rely on the state’s monopolistic power to regulate. Insofar as “law” is perceived narrowly—as the body of norms produced by the state’s agents—then corporatist law sought to minimize it. As demonstrated in the previous chapters, the state provided a ...

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7. The Changing Legal Construct of Dualism

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pp. 188-223

While the traditional focus of labor law has been on the relationship between employers and their employees, or capital and labor, the particular characteristics of the labor market render the distributive aspects of work and benefits among the workforce equally important. Unlike capital investment in workplaces, which may be liquidated and converted to other forms of capital, the supply of labor is mainly dependent on the labor market, and the market’s ...

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Part IV. Corporatist Labor Law in Context

Now that we have completed our journey through more than eighty years of labor law in Israel, it is time to return to the original questions posed at the end of the first chapter, namely: 1. What are the legal enabling conditions of corporatism, and what are ...

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8. Corporatist and Pluralist Labor Laws

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pp. 227-240

What makes labor law into “corporatist law” or “pluralist law”? As demonstrated in chapter 1, the contours of neocorporatism have been debated in the literature since the early 1970s. While there are disagreements regarding the exact meaning of corporatism, at its core corporatism is an institutional design that links centralized associations representing the interests of labor and ...

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9. The Rule and Role of Law in Industrial Relations

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pp. 241-260

What makes labor law corporatist law or pluralist law? In chapter 8, the different objectives of the two types were outlined, and the corresponding legal institutions were demonstrated. However, are these enabling conditions of an industrial relations system (corporatist or pluralist) or the outcomes of the system? Is law necessary to create and construct industrial relations or merely its ...


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pp. 261-275


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pp. 277-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780801461736
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801446009

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1