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Eastern Academy of Management International 2019 Conference

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Free-agent Unionism in Professional Sports: Employee Voice in the Era Non-standard Employment

Paul Swiercz
George Washington University  |  United States

Keywords: managerialism; unions; non-standard employees; free-agents; employment relationship

Abstract: Labor unions across the globe have been in decline for decades. New mechanisms for the expression of employee voice have begun to emerge in parallel with new organizational forms and new industries. The purpose of this paper is to argue that a new species of unionism – free-agent unionism - has emerged after a century-long contest between owners and workers within the professional sports industry. Drawing from Critical Management Scholarship (CMS), this paper presents a summary of key attributes of free-agent unionism, links those attributes to classic managerialism, and provides suggestions for future research in a global contest.


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