Ronald W. Haughton is chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Among his many other activities, he formerly served as an arhitrator-chairman of a tripartite committee in Michigan established to resolve impasses over prices in the apple industry. This article is based on a speech delivered to the National Bargaining Conference of the National Committee of the Agricultural Bargaining and Marketing Associations in New Orleans on January 11, 1980.
The prices of apples and those of some other major crops in the state of Michigan are determined by more than just the weather. They are set under a system similar to that operating in conventional lahor-management relations.
The system is governed by a unique agricultural bargaining law. The Michigan act was modeled closely on industrial relations statutes governing collective bargaining between organized labor and nonagricultural employers. It demonstrates that many of the same principles and dispute settlement procedures can work in agriculture as well.