Experts React to Nixonomics As Labor Leaves Pay Board
Three Harvard labor relations experts agreed that the recent walkout of labor leaders from the Pay Board will have little immediate effect on economic policy, but may create greater rifts between labor, management and government.
"The withdrawal of union leaders will not alter the fact that the government is going to be poking its nose into the regulation of wages and prices." William B. Gould, visiting professor of Law, said yesterday.
Gould said that though there will probably be no immediate economic policy changes, a situation "one step short of war" could arise if unions disregard government policy and strike when employers follow the economic guidelines set by the Board.
The union leaders walked out because "most don't want to take the rap for wage restraints," Gould added.
James J. Healy, professor of Industrial Relations, said yesterday that "the Phase II policy was badly handled by the administration." Healy said that the Board lacked the machinery to resolve labor disputes such as the recent West Coast dock strike.
Healy said that "labor organizations want to have a control program" and that no deliberate sabotage on the part of the union leaders was evident.
As for the future of the Board, Healy said that it would "continue but will limp along from now until the election."
"The problem was inevitable. Sooner or later it would bust up anyway," Edward R. Livernash, Weatherhead Professor of Business Administration, said yesterday. Livernash added that the walkout "may give the Board a little longer life," and that "from a policy point of view, there will be no effects."
The latest development in the Pay Board dispute came yesterday, when Leonard Woodcock, president of the United Automobile Workers, became the fourth labor leader to quit the Board. President Nixon called the labor leaders who quit "selfish and irresponsible."